Persecution Should Empathize With Other Persecution

You have no idea how hard it was to find one of these that wasn't actually racist.

You have no idea how hard it was to find one of these that wasn’t actually racist.

A couple of weeks ago, Bob Chipman had an excellent video on The Escapist about the rise of geek culture and how its journey into the mainstream has increased a very specific set of negative traits that always existed but are often mythologized away.

It was always an open secret, you see, that for all the pretense of refuge for those who were different, geek culture was always thought of and built around only one classical nerd archetype: white, male, heterosexual, cis gendered, first world, with enough disposable income to afford their hobbies.


And while it was common for idealized depictions of the culture to imagine that welcoming and understanding were the rule (after all, persecution must empathize with other persecution, yes?), in reality sexism, racism, and other forms of clique-ish and exclusionary behavior were often the ugly underbelly of the whole scene…


A culture that built so much of its sense of self around resistance to persecution and oppression has no moral or logical rationale to become an oppressor itself when it attains a seat of power.

I could quote the whole second half if I’m not careful, so go watch the video.

I think this speaks not just to geek culture, but rather any culture that has gone from an embattled position to a gradual acceptance into the mainstream. It’s not too difficult to apply much of what Bob said above to gay culture instead of geek culture which is still largely focused on the white, upper middle class, cis gender gay male. To an extent there is more acceptance of lesbians as well, though often in the sense that straight men find the idea titillating and therefore there must be more women having sex with women to watch. However, it’s still ridiculously difficult to be a bisexual in a gay space even if we are technically allowed there, and even closer to impossible by a long shot to be a transwoman in a scene largely dominated by gay men who may see crossdressing as a form of play, but certainly don’t accept that somebody may in fact be a woman, though they were born with a Y chromosome.________________________

Thus begins my latest piece over at Queereka. Go over and take a look at the full article.


2 thoughts on “Persecution Should Empathize With Other Persecution

  1. “Doctor FUCKING Who is popular in America.”

    Granted.. well, I don’t disagree on any particular point, however, I feel it is worth saying…

    While Americans watching Doctor Who may consist mainly of white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, first-world people with enough disposal income to afford cable TV and Sonic Screwdriver pens, is that such a drastic distinction from America in general? The vast majority of Americans are white, are heterosexual, are cis-gendered, and live (perhaps still) in a first-world community. Even so, if my non-heterosexual, non-cis-gendered self had to be completely and loudly outed to a group of people, I would take Whovians over general population, ANY day.

    Not to say that “geek culture” is ideal, but of all the mobs to be lynched by, I’d probably have the best chances of not being chased down by the geek one. Why chase a trans woman at a convention when you can take a photo of Patrick Stewart and buy a scantily-clad animé pillow case instead?

  2. That’s actually an excellent point. And I will admit, geek culture is unquestionably better than other places (for example, you’re probably going to be worse off at a NASCAR event). But it still suffers from the problem that so many spaces that have grown up around the majority have, which is that that majority never even considers the possibility that perspectives other than their own might exist in the world. That, coupled with a sense that culture is a zero sum game, and you have people who have convinced themselves that they are not only justified, but the heroes in an epic struggle for the purity of what it means to be a geek, which includes things like certain modes of dress, lusting after conventionally attractive women and calling it romantic (yes, it must be conventionally attractive women because this is being said by heterosexual guys with very little experience with other human beings), also lusting after various game and/or anime hotties, etc. While there is certainly some overlap, many of these things are just not for everybody, and it hurts communities to set barriers to entry that, for some, are impossible to cross.

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