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Kate kate_nepveu
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Fighting the Derail: Some Possibilities

ETA: see fight_derailing for further discussion.

So, elsewhere on LJ, one proposal for fighting the derail [*] was setting up a fundraiser to send awesome fans of color to Wiscon. I started thinking about logistics of this, which are behind the cut, but one side-track of my thought was:

Would a community be useful? I see a lot of good suggestions around for fighting the derail, but not really centrally pulled out. I can create one—umm, actually, I seem to have created fight_derailing by accident, I thought I was only testing it. Well, I could get rid of its ads and put actual content in it, if people think it would be useful.

[*] Of anti-racism conversations into All About the Hurt Feelings and Bad Behavior of White Folk; I'm in a hurry tonight, see prior posts under these tags and rydra_wong for details.

Here are my thoughts on a Wiscon fundraiser. These are only possibilities, and I welcome suggestions or improvements.

(I'm thinking of this on a DonorsChoose model, if that helps.)

First, there's the question of identifying fans of color who want to go to Wiscon. My thought was a post where people simply volunteer themselves and state, "This is what I'd need to be able to go to Wiscon"—money, floor space, whatever. Other people could also respond by saying, "Yes, I'd like so-and-so to come to Wiscon," in case of f'locked journals, to vouch for their trustworthiness, etc.

(I'm resistant to the idea of people doing mission statements or such, because it feels like a popularity contest.)

Second, after the deadline, a post listing each potential attendee as the start of a comment thread. All subsequent comments would be screened; people would comment to each attendee pledging money or services, or to a general pot of money. I'd post updates every so often so people knew who was close to being funded. If services like floorspace are offered, I'd check with the fan first to make sure they were acceptable.

After the deadline, I'd e-mail everyone who pledged in support of fully-funded fans and have them send me the pledged money, which I would then send to the fans in question.

The way I got to "maybe we should have a comm" is that I also thought people could offer goods/services in return for pledges to the fundraiser, like livelongnmarry, but then it would be easier if people could post those separately . . . However, I'm not sure that people would feel strongly enough about the Wiscon fundraiser idea to commit the amount of fandom goodwill that something like livelongnmarry could generate; of course, it could also be for the Carl Brandon Society or microloans to women in developing nations or whatever else people feel appropriate, it doesn't have to be just for this.

Right. I'm rushing to beat SteelyKid's inevitable waking up (she's teething, poor thing), so what am I missing, what do you all think? Also, what deadlines would be realistic for the Wiscon part—I'm thinking mid-March for fans and then mid-April for funding, or earlier than that?

Edit: to clarify based on comments: yes, my conception was that the potential attendees would be fans who already really want to go to Wiscon but aren't able to, and that they would just be expected to go and be their awesome selves. Wiscon because it's small, people are already expressing desire to go, and it's got a nucleus of committed anti-racist fans and awareness of the issue. Anticipation is further away, bigger, and something we can deal with later.

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I don't know that I have anything to add but I'd definitely join. In fact I just did.

I worry about timing. It's already the end of the first week in March--you'd have maybe two weeks to get the word out on this and collect names of fans. I'm not sure you could get as much exposure as you would want. (That said, maybe a smaller, trial run this year would give the necessary experience/practice so that a larger project could get going for next year's Wiscon.)

Besides that...something troubles me. I'm not sure I can fully explain it, but I'll try.

I'd be glad to give money to a project like this, both because it's a worthwhile cause, and because I feel a little ashamed that I haven't been able to do anything concrete during this entire epic clusterfuckup. That second reason, though, is the problem.

I have the bad feeling that the fund would become...I almost want to call it White Guilt Confession: "Donate money and be forgiven your unconscious racism." This would, I fear:

  • Once again turn the anti-racism effort into All About White Folk;
  • Let some of those same people to muddy the waters further, by defending against their racist comments with "I donated to the Wiscon fund!" (The new "my best friends are black"?) Back to the "what you did/what you are" problem.
  • And, worst yet, undermine the efforts to fix the problem. People might really think that they didn't have to change their behavior or confront their biases; they could just give money to the fund and they'd have done their part.


I realize that this is all about how white people would react to this. As such I may well be perpetuating the problem. I may also be completely off base.

Might be a bit weird for the beneficiaries, too. I imagine people thinking "what am I doing at this convention to justify the hopes of all the people who sent me here?" which could be pretty difficult to deal with - as opposed, say, to the Octavia Butler scholarship, because when you're sent to a writer's workshop, you know what it is you're supposed to be doing there.

This is not a reason not to do it, just a thing to consider. One possibility is to specifically say to any recipients, "You have no responsibilities at the convention other than to participate as you otherwise would: to see and be seen, to hear and be heard in whatever way you choose.

(no subject) - sparkymonster, 2009-03-06 03:39 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - dichroic, 2009-03-06 03:43 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - oyceter, 2009-03-06 04:31 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - dichroic, 2009-03-06 05:11 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - stakebait, 2009-03-06 08:00 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-03-06 09:18 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - coffeeandink, 2009-03-06 04:39 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-03-06 04:51 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - coffeeandink, 2009-03-06 06:37 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-03-06 05:36 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-03-06 05:51 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-03-06 05:54 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-03-06 06:00 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-03-06 06:04 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - scifantasy, 2009-03-06 06:06 pm (UTC)(Expand)
Oooo, this sounds awesome!

Here I was hoping it would be called Orcmoot.

Srnk.

(no subject) - delux_vivens, 2009-03-06 08:26 pm (UTC)(Expand)
What a wonderful idea. I'd be happy to join and help however I can.

I was just wishing there was some way to actually make a difference in the demographics at cons, particularly award-granting cons. This sounds like a really good idea. I'll donate to this.

What about a fund to buy voting/nominating memberships in the worldcon? I would donate to that, too.



Edited at 2009-03-06 05:04 am (UTC)

yeah maybe! or work more on the Carl Brandon award?


(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-03-06 05:37 pm (UTC)(Expand)
This is great. I am joining.

I don't know... this seems super uncomfortable in a lot of directions. And while I'd want to help people come to WisCon if they wanted to, I think in this case I'd rather donate to Carl Brandon Society and verb_noire, buy a lot of books by people of color, and if new cons pop up support those. Like, actual safe space for people of color, set up that way from the beginning. That's how I'm leaning.

Can you elaborate on how you see this as super uncomfortable?

I am fully in support of a con organized by and for POC, but this idea came up when a number of POC mentioned that they *wanted* to go to Wiscon but couldn't afford it. Which has a lot to do with my support of the idea. If it were about "Let's entice reluctant POC to the con when they're not sure they want to go," I'd feel differently.


(no subject) - badgerbag, 2009-03-06 07:00 am (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - stakebait, 2009-03-06 08:04 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I joined.

I'd like best to give/raise (probably in my case, raise) money to the Carl Brandon Society for them to administrate, because man, I hate being in charge of charity money, and the CBS is already incorporated as a charity, I believe? which skips a bunch of legal folderol. But I think this sounds like it has possibilities.

Totally understandable. As far as charity $, I am envisioning this as a gift exchange with me as the facilitator, so I don't feel that I'm putting myself in legal jeopardy, and I intend to set up a way for people to look at my books, if this happens; however, I understand that people may be more comfortable with sending $ to a formal organization with the accompanying safeguards. And I'll be mentioning the CBS over at fight_derailing and hope other people will too.

As an alternative suggestion, here is a way of doing this that doesn't require people to publicly ask for help. It's based on what we do for a small convention I've been involved with.

It's called a help fund. People donate to it. People ask for help. Whatever is donated is distributed to the people asking for help. It's run by one person or a small committee, who publicize it (this is really important), collect donations, and distribute them. Only that person or group knows who has donated and who has asked for help. (Although people who donate or ask could also publicize their actions if they wanted.)

That sounds a bit like what the Tiptree Motherboard does. They have an help fund.

(no subject) - kate_nepveu, 2009-03-06 05:41 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(no subject) - firecat, 2009-03-06 10:34 pm (UTC)(Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Innnnteresting, thank you!

(no subject) - stakebait, 2009-03-06 08:10 pm (UTC)(Expand)
I'd be happy to donate something, a la livelongnmarry, if that's what ends up happening.

yes, my conception was that the potential attendees would be fans who already really want to go to Wiscon but aren't able to, and that they would just be expected to go and be their awesome selves. Wiscon because it's small, people are already expressing desire to go, and it's got a nucleus of committed anti-racist fans and awareness of the issue. Anticipation is further away, bigger, and something we can deal with later.

I was going to post suggesting basically what you wrote.

I also totally get that some people want to donate money other ways and that is fine too. I think some kind of linkage to other things like Carl Brandon and verb_noire would also be great. Yeah.

I have _so many_ links planned to be posted tonight! Well, okay, they probably don't look like a lot to superpowered you => , but still, those are definitely on the list.

I have not much time but I do have a few spare bucks - I could donate. I'll be watching for details.


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