Gamers, Automotive Enthusiasts, and General Fuckwads of the Internet. Pay Attention.

I don’t know what a trigger is for most people. But I’m gonna suggest that this is at least slightly triggery for racial and homophobic epithets, and the implied and historic violence that goes along with it.

Wendig writes, because Wendig writes. And as usual, he hits something close to me. I’ve DONE some of these things: Sometimes, you don’t catch yourself in time, or you’re not thinking, and you thing “well, fuck, I’m an asshole”. And the good news, I think, is that because you think that second bit, you’re probably OK. But it doesn’t mean we can’t be better.

Now, this leads somewhere.

Specifically, We all are, in a way. Whether we let that subconscious shit rule us, or we try our damnedist to do something about it, that is what makes us the people we are.

So, I’m trying to be a better person. I don’t always win at at. Hell, I lose a lot. And I berate myself for it. And I’ve steered away from this coming discussion, and gamergate, too, for just that reason. It’s easier that way. But…

I have an issue within the automotive community with the casual use of a few epithets. And yes, this is equally applicable to the gaming community, but I don’t spend time with that community.

The epithets in question? They’re ALL GLBT-derogatory. FAGGOT. Queer. Fag. Tranny. Add variations as you see fit. They’re used to be derogatory. That’s the problem. These same words pop up a lot in the gaming community, but they’re here too, and there’s a reason I’m looking at the casual derogatory hate against GLBT in the automotive community.

Because it’s specific to MY community.

There’s some background involved.

Once upon a time, I bought a car (it was in 2009, and it was a 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe). I really like this car. One of the reasons was, they didn’t shy away from COLOR. I mean, you look at a lot of cars now, and they’re *cough* fifty shades of Grey. I’m actually not kidding. And EVEn Hyundai is going this way now, which is a real shame.

But at the time you could get COLOR. Which is pretty awesome. And all the colors were named for racetracks. For a new sportscar, from a company that didn’t have any history making sports cars, that made a lot of sense.

park'n'ride 17

Mirabeau Blue. Nordschliefe Grey. Bathurst Black. Interlagos Yellow. Karussell White. Silverstone. Acqua Minerale Blue.

And that’s where we hit the problem.

Now, I’d kind of always called the Acqua Minerale Blue “Old man blue”. It reminds me a lot of a metalicized version of the pastel colors from the fifties. And, ok, fine, you could call it mildly “agist”. But… meh. You know?

And other people were using that.

And then suddenly, it became “Homo” blue. About 18 months after the car became available, it became homo blue. With (and just to provide context here) phrases like “Nice homo blue car, you fucking faggot” attached.

And I have a fucking problem with that.

I have GLBT friends. A large number of them, more than I ever expected I would, honestly. And I know the shit they’ve gone through, just being who they are. The beatings and injuries. Hiding who they themselves are, the daily, normal scorn laid upon them by the general public they have to interact with just to do their jobs.

And fuck that shit.

ANd I know I can’t do a lot. I am, as they say, “a white straight male, age 18-65, everyone listens to me” The whole problem is that me, as a demographic, tends to get listened to for the wrong reasons.

But this one thing, I’m trying to influence.

I had this conversation recently:

Him: Is there a Modded Homo Blue genesis in the group from Ottawa? When I had about 5minutes left on my [car wash] (car was finished being washed) a Homo blue Genny pulled up with Wheels and an exhaust so I have him my last 5minutes. Was a nice car.
Me: LOL Old-man blue?
Him: Theres an Old-Man blue now too? Or is that the Homo-Blue lol. The light light light blue one. Def a girlier blue.
Me: That’s the one. I just won’t call it homo blue: I don’t do that shit. I have too many friends who’ve had to have their bodies put back together after [assholes] called ‘em “homo” and then beat the sh1t out of them for being gay. As you can imagine, this is a discussion I have a lot on automotive, and gaming forums “fag” “gay” “homo” are unacceptable slurs for me.
Him: No offence intended. We shall call it Old-man Blue then.

See, this is really representative. There’s no hate involved in that conversation.

It’s just an equation of “this color is girly, a guy is driving it, therefor, gay”.

Except.

Except, except, except. It’s a] not true, b] isn’t an insult (or shouldn’t be) and c] leads to that casual mistrust of “not what I am”. The casual use of the naming of a community as a derogatory. It’s “girlier” (that’s less than manly). It’s gay (less than manly). It confers that… social hierarchy of “white straight male best, all others worse, and being called one of them is an insult”.

This wouldn’t have bothered me ten years ago… no… you know it would. But I wouldn’t have known WHY.

You can call me a Social Justic Warrior, or Bleeding heart liberal all you want. But seriously, there’s no reason for this, and it just promotes so much of the hate that is endemic in our community (ie. cars, gaming) or society as a whole. It’s time for this shit to stop. There’s always going to be those who are truy, thoroughly, put off by anything that isn’t THEM. I call these people ignorant fuckwits. Everyone else is capable of learning. More specifically, everyone else is capable of UNlearning these behaviours.

Because they’re habits. They’re habits reinforced by the communities that we’re part of. And everyone of us has an obligation to be BETTER. And most of us (like the conversation above) are really fucking close to “better”.

This is basic fear of “other”. And the easiest (and wrong) way to get over that fear is to make it lower than you.

That’s what this is.

No one on these forums, groups, etc, today, would… Ok, not “no one”, almost no one… would call someone nigger[1]. They definitely wouldn’t do it in print, on facebook, where it’ll live forever. But “homo”? “Faggot”? “That’s gay”? Yeah, those are… shit, they’re basically vernacular. And that’s got to stop. We can be better.

But no one calls them on it. And that includes me. I’m a white male, age 18-65 and it’s fucking easier to go along and ignore it than call someone out on it.

Which is fucking dumb on my part, because I’ll happily get into arguments on the internet. So, why wouldn’t I get into this argument?

So, I’m going to start getting into this argument.

Because my friends, who identify as the groups being used as putdowns, deserve it.

And because my friends, who use the terms that casually, also deserve it.

I know we all don’t think about it. We are, mostly, the few of privilege. And that means we have that obligation to think before we open our mouths (or apply fingers to keyboards).

I’m actually not saying “don’t insult people”. People need to be insulted.

Wow, that sounds terrible.

BUt it’s true. Sometimes, there is a reason and need for a really good insult. But that should never, in 2014, be an insult based in gender, race, or sexual orientation. There is simply no excuse for it. Because we’re supposed to better. We’re supposed to be better than those racist, homophobic fucks of generations gone by. Gay is NOT preventing you from getting straight married.

Silence is agreement.

Which means I’m not going to be silent about it. Even though it’s easier.

Because most of these guys (and it’s mostly guys) are reasonable, intelligent people. I still, despite all of this, believe that. They just don’t think. Or, like me, they do. But they take the path of least resistance. Because it’s easier.

BUt if there’s anything good in privilege, it’s that people listen to you. So it’s time to start using that privilege for good, not evil or indifference.

The conversation above, not a bad guy. In fact, a good guy, who I like a lot, and am happy to have come drink beer with me, and wrench with me. Know why?

We shall call it old-man blue then

That’s why.

Because, as soon as you point it out? HE FUCKING GOT IT.

And that’s all that counts. It’s not what you did before, it’s what you do going forward. There’s more of us reasonable ones. I still believe that. I know it doesn’t always look like it, but reasonable is still the majority. We’re just QUIET. And unreasonable, hateful, and bigoted tends to be loud and vocal. And yeah, it’s way easier, and makes your life way happier, to not engage, to not listen to ’em, and stay in your pocket of happiness and equality. But that’s still a privilege. And it’s a privilege that grows with your bonuses: +1 privilege for white! +3 privilege for male! +2 for straight! And it all adds up.

I know people who think twice before they hold hands with their legal spouse. Because their spouse is the same sex as them. I don’t have to do that, because my spouse is not the same sex as me. THAT’S PRIVILEGE.

You know, I keep going over the same ground here.

I’ve been sitting on this post for the best part of two months. Because it’s tough to get into this shit. It’s tough knowing that there’s potential blowback. It’s tough knowing I’m almost definitely going to get made fun of for it. It’s tough… but it’s not as tough as living your life wondering whether or not you can hold your husbands hand in public, or “look gay” in a restaurant, or any of the multitudes of decisions I never have to make, because of, yes, there it is again, my privilege.

It boils down to this.

If you have even some of the privilege, use it to make life better for others, not worse.

Choose your words, insults or not, carefully. Not just when you speak in anger, but ALWAYS[2].

When you choose your words, aspire to be better. Use better words. Use better insults. Creativity is … damn, son, you gotta put some thought into an insult. Seriously. Using a gender, or racial, or bias epithet is just LAZY. You need a role-model.

Once again, I’ll let Wendig get it right for me, because he words better than I do:

I’m not saying anything particularly new or revelatory, I realize. I just think it’s important to admit these things — because once you kick over the log and see what squirms underneath you can take to addressing it. …

It’s vital to recognize our own privilege and — counterintuitively — work against it.

We gotta do better. And hope others join us.

This all started (again) for me with a casual nickname for a color of a car. It got back into my brain with Wendig’s post. It got me angry when I say the most… … I saw a phrasing on a forum… You know what, fuck it. I’ll end with this. I wrote all of the above for a few reasons. But mostly, I wrote it because I saw this on a car-fan/discussion page. I saw this, as a description of how much a guy didn’t like someone else’s car. I saw that description, and no one said anything about it. Including me.

“[your car] deserves to be stomped like a faggot outside a bar”.

That’s why. I’m out.

[1]I have huge problems even writing that word simply to discuss it. But I also subscribe to the philosophy that we have to keep the word in discussion, not refer to it as “the n-word” because it is a harsh word, it’s supposed to be, and we need to not soften it. If we soften it by calling it the “n-word” then we make it more available.

[3] I have, in the past, used “bitch” a lot. I’m trying not to. But again, it’s a hard habit to break. But I’m fucking trying.

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2 Responses to Gamers, Automotive Enthusiasts, and General Fuckwads of the Internet. Pay Attention.

  1. Reblogged this on 'Nathan Burgoine and commented:
    Because it’s the small things, the micro-aggressions, and standing up in those awkward moments.

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