Think Galacticon’s Statement on Privilege

Think Galactic is a pro-woman, pro-queer, and anti-racist group that dreams of a world without oppressive hierarchies. The members of our group stand with fans of color regarding issues of cultural appropriation and racism. We expect white writers and fans to acknowledge and respond respectfully to criticism by writers and fans of color and their allies and to not use their position of privilege to damage others. While some members of the Think Galactic Collective are people of color, most of us are white allies, and while we realize we are not perfect, we aspire to listen, learn, and grow from problems others bring up to us rather than running away from them or denying that they exist, and we expect that our convention members share these aspirations.

At Think Galacticon 2007, we began some discussions regarding privilege, cultural appropriation, and exemplary and problematic representations of people of color in SF, and related issues. We hope to support more such discussions at Think Galacticon 2009, along with programming related to issues surrounding RaceFail ’09, and most importantly, programming related to any issues members of the sf/f community, particularly fans of color, want to discuss.

Think Galactic is committed to creating a welcoming environment for fans of color and providing a space where nuanced discussions about privilege, including privilege regarding race and ethnicity, can happen. People who attend Think Galacticon should be aware that privilege is a part of all our lives, whether we wield it for our benefit or simply enjoy its rewards without intention, and should be open and prepared to have that privilege unpacked, questioned, and challenged at Think Galacticon.

There are a number of ways we hope to support these complex conversations:

  1. We will attempt to facilitate discussions appropriately.
  2. So that everyone attending will be working with the same definitions: concepts like racism and privilege are defined below and on our website.
  3. Expectations regarding behavior at the convention will be available online and in the programming book.
  4. Links on how to educate oneself about cultural appropriation, racism, and privilege are compiled on our website and listed below.

Our intention at Think Galacticon is to focus on the issues and not to allow feelings of wounded privilege to derail the conversation. However, should the need arise, we are prepared to take action at the convention by setting aside space, mediating conflicts, or whatever else is required to help address the situation. If someone is behaving in a violent, extremely disrespectful, or disruptive manner, we do reserve the right to revoke their convention membership without a refund.

We are looking for any ideas that would help Think Galacticon be an even better space for these discussions, and invite suggestions about how to make it as supportive and as welcoming an environment as possible. Please share either privately through email or publicly on our Livejournal.

While we don’t believe we can provide a comprehensive definition of racism and privilege, we do see certain concepts as basic to the discussion and not up for debate.

  1. Privilege is a system of statuses and advantages granted based on one’s location within social hierarchies. Dismantling this system is much more complicated than renunciation of that status. Privilege is often invisible to those who posses it.
  2. Racism is prejudice backed up by personal privilege and systemic power. Being a racist does not mean only that someone hates someone of another racial group, but that a person holding racial privilege wields their privilege for their benefit.

We expect members to work to educate themselves about oppression and the ways in which their privilege implicates them in the maintenance of social hierarchies.

Starting Points:
Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
by Peggy McIntosh

My What?" On Privilege and What We Can Do About It
by Andrea

Delving a Little Deeper:

Privilege of Politeness
by Naamen Gobert Tilahun

Beyond the Whiteness
– Global Capitalism and White Supremacy: thoughts
on movement building and anti-racist organizing
by Chris Crass

and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy
by Andrea Smith

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