I KNOW YOU ARE, BUT WHAT AM I?
Steamfunk and Dieselfunk is Racist!
Yesterday, this was all brought up by author and Dieselpunk, Jack Philpott, who inquired if the founder of Dieselpunks.org – the premier Dieselpunk social website – knew of AnachroCon’s Dieselpunk theme.
Here is the inquiry:
Tome, Larry, Johnny,
I just heard that Anachrocon in Atlanta 14-16 Feb (http://www.anachrocon.org/) is having a Dieselpunk theme this year. Balogun Ojetade (CC) is even releasing a Dieselfunk book there. Had any of you heard of that? Anyone have plans to be there (aside from Balogun)?
Hi Jack, This is the first I’m hearing of it. Granted, I don’t pay much attention to “dieselfunk,” because it’s racist, but I didn’t even see the event across the wire. Things are bad at work in February due to the Olympics and SuperBowl, so I won’t be able to make it to Atlanta. All of the projects that have been put on hold will be lava hot emergencies once the big events are over. I probably won’t see daylight again until March. –Tome
Hell, I didn’t know Dieselfunk was racist, but if Tome Wilson, the Creator and Editor of Dieselpunks, says so, it – and by default, I – must be, right?
But wait…there is more proof that Dieselfunk – and Steamfunk, by the way – is racist. This time, Dieselfunk and Steamfunk are exposed by – horror of horrors – Lt. Condor of Dragonfly Armory. Check it out. Oh…and once again, the bold emphasis is mine, but not the words:
It is kinda crappy that the rest of the world is not represented in most Dieselpunk media. I haven’t seen many of the films or TV shows but I get the point just from looking at the previews and posters. There should be more representation for the other nations that participated in these wars and all of the people who fought.
On the same page though, you have to factor another point in. What if there is just a lack of interest among minorities? The Dragonfly Armory is a private organized group that is nothing but white people, but that isn’t because we’re excluding someone who’s asian, latino, black, or middle eastern. In fact I’m sure we would welcome that diversity. We, as far as I know, have never had anyone show interest before. I don’t think it’s too much of an assumption either to say that it’s not that the writers/directors are making these films such that minorities can’t be in them. Rather it is more that there isn’t an interest among prominent actors, who are minorities, to have a part in these films.
I could be completely off base in this assumption, there may be many actors who wish they could be a part of something like this. I feel that if that were the case though, there would be a larger presence of minorities in both the culture, and the con scene.
What upsets me the most about this though is the emergence of Steamfunk and Dieselfunk. To me this goes back to so many other aspects of society and culture that I won’t even begin to reference… The point is your right hand is saying that you want to be included, and treated equal. While your left hand is creating a situation where you are being exclusive and segregating every other race out.
Dieselpunk is in no way racist, exclusive, or prejudiced against any group of people. Except perhaps those who support Nazis…we don’t really want to have anything to do with them.
Dieselfunk though…by the very name of it you’re basically saying this can only be black people. Why would you create something that excludes you from the rest of society? Why make a subset of a culture exclusive to your own race instead of just joining into what’s already established? No one is excluding you, you clearly just don’t want to be involved.
This is why I can’t stand it when people say: “I don’t support this because its racist.” “We want to be treated the same.” etc… And then you go out and support something that is racist, just racist in your favor, that excludes you from being treated as the same since you are separating yourself from the rest of the races in the world.
Racism and segregation will continue to persist in this world as long as there are people who buy into the idea that the exclusion of the majority and other minorities is okay as long as you accept your own minority.
All that said I really did enjoy the rest of the article. It was very well written and included a TON of links to other blogs and sources. I think it is definitely worth the read.
- Lt. Condor
Come on, Tome; come on, Lt. Condor…you can’t just call a subgenre and a movement racist all willy-nilly.
Only racists do that.
The proper definition of racism, which is commonly used in academic research, and has been the accepted definition by sociologists and social psychologists for more than a decade is: “racism is prejudice plus power”.
Anyone can carry positive or negative stereotypes of others based on racial or cultural characteristics. Anyone can be prejudiced – can judge others based on preconceived notions about their ethnicity or race.
People of any race can commit acts of violence, mistreatment or ostracizing based on these stereotypes. A Chinese boy might beat up a Black boy because he doesn’t like Black boys. A Black person might refuse to associate with Latinos.
These two scenarios might be negative; they might be terrible…however, to be racist – rather than simply prejudiced – requires having institutional power. In North America, white people have the institutional power.
“White” is presented as the norm; the default, because white people have institutional power.
Notice how Tome and Lt. Condor can just label Steamfunk and Dieselfunk – and, by default, Milton Davis, Valjeanne Jeffers, Maurice Broaddus, Yours Truly and all the other Steamfunkateers – racist with no explanation; no evidence; without study or experience.
Because racism is systematic, they get to label things willy-nilly. They get to have no real argument for their anger. They get to feel justified without justification. They get to say dumb shit without being regarded as dumb.
They are really just acting out because they can…and because they feel threatened.
They feel threatened because we aren’t just getting along to get along. We are challenging the racism, classism and sexism found in Dieselpunk and Steampunk; we are telling the stories that, until we came along, went untold.
They feel threatened because, contrary to the lie that our “right hand is saying that we want to be included, and treated equal”, we are practicing Dieselpunk and Steampunk on our own terms. We are not seeking inclusion in any Airships or Armories not of our own making. We are not saying we want to be treated equal; we are equal, damn how you treat us. Our work is proof of that.
If you do not feel threatened, why utilize the classic – and oh, so obvious – defense mechanism of projection? We only defend ourselves when we feel threatened.
What is projection, you ask?
Projection is the psychological phenomenon where someone denies some aspect of their behavior or attitudes and assumes instead that someone else is acting out this behavior or attitude. Projection also extends to philosophies and knowledge.
I am sure you have heard the old adage, “When you point one finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”
We see in other people the very things we do not want to see in ourselves.
Thanks to the power of our unconscious minds, we can manipulate our picture of reality and see it as we wish to see it – usually in a way that initially makes us feel more comfortable.
By means of projection, we get rid of unwanted feelings and relocate them in someone else.
Sounds pretty cool, huh? Like some old Matrix-meets-Inception-meets Cloud Atlas-type s**t.
But, by their very nature, the projections we put out want to come back to us. They want to come home where they belong. And I’m packing their bags and sending their racist asses back to Tome and Lt. Condor and to all the other Dieselpunks and Steampunks who, instead of dealing with the racism in fandom, want to project it on to those who are actually working hard to make a difference; to those who have introduced Steampunk and Dieselpunk to People of Color all over the world as Steamfunk and Dieselfunk and have inspired them to take part in the cosplay and the cons; to purchase not only our books, but yours as well.
Steampunk and Dieselpunk have benefitted from our work and will continue to and we have done so without discriminating against anyone and certainly without being racist.
The fact is projection is one of the most destructive ways of handling our difficulties. We fare better in life when we take responsibility for ourselves – when we own the good, the bad, and the ugly that belongs to us.
Generally speaking, projection alienates others and says far more about our own insecurities than any real truths about other people.
People of Color – and many white people – in Steampunk and Dieselpunk have cried out for, and even demanded, a re-imagining of the XYZ-Punk genres and subgenres that highlights lesser known struggles and gives voice to underrepresented groups in Steam – and Diesel – punk. And we Steamfunkateers are delivering…in a big way.
Shut up, Joker (the Heath Ledger version)!
Dieselpunk and Steampunk have great social, intellectual, artistic and political value, so, while cosplaying, reading your favorite XYZ-Punk novel, or engaging in a Bartitsu sparring match might, indeed, be fun, we won’t dismiss, or shy away from, any controversy, we will engage in intelligent discourse and action that raises awareness and appreciation of Steamfunk and Dieselfunk and we will continue to tell the stories that must be told.
If that makes you uncomfortable; if it causes you to project onto Dieselfunk and Steamfunk exactly what Dieselpunk and Steampunk still struggle with, so be it.
You’ll just give me more to blog about.