On isms: Don't Tolerate Dismissiveness

By | Thursday, September 21, 2017 Leave a Comment
Do you know why Congress perpetually has an approval rating only nominally better than the Bubonic Plague? Basically, it boils down to them regularly showing that they don't care about the American people. Their repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are a prime example. Everything about the most recent attempt in the Graham-Cassidy bill strips away funding and protections for huge swaths of the population and, oh by the way, gives some nice tax cuts to the upper 1%. (Call your representatives and let them know you do not approve of this bill!) With actions like this, Congress is telling the American people that only the phenomenally rich are worth their time. It's little wonder Congress's approval rating is at a measly 16%.

See, people generally don't like to being told that they don't matter. Go figure, right?

But that's exactly what happens in so many cases of harassment.

About a month ago, I saw someone start talking about the "Diversity and Comics" account on Twitter. I think it was Jennifer de Guzman‏. She pointed out that he was harassing women online. I don't recall if she explicitly had a call to action to report his account or just to block him, but I did a quick scan of his feed, saw he was indeed being a dismissive asshole, and reported/blocked accordingly. I've come to adopt a policy on social media that, if I hear someone is being harassed -- even if it's someone I don't know -- I'll track down and report the harasser's account. Harassment and bullying is just a really shitty thing to do in any circumstance, and no one (except the harassers themselves) deserves that. So, no, I don't want to share digital space with anyone who thinks that's okay, even if we're not travelling in the same circles.

As I recall, reporting "Diversity and Comics" was challenging because he generally skirts within the confines of the official Twitter policy. From what I've seen at least, he's not out there expressly calling people names and attacking them directly. But he does seem to goad others into doing exactly that, and he's then dismissive of the victim. "Dismissive" is of course an adjective that means "saying that you don't matter."

Here's the thing about harassment that I think a lot of people don't really get: no one wants to be a victim. No one even wants to appear as though they might be a victim. Which means that, if someone says they're being harassed, there's almost a 100% chance that they are. People don't make that kind of shit up.

But in a society where we believe someone is innocent until proven guilty, we wind up giving deference to the harasser because the victim hasn't conclusively proven they were harassed. It becomes a game of she said/he said and, barring evidence, the guilty party is frequently found not guilty. (This holds true in our social contracts as well as legal ones, by the way. The court of public opinion will favor a harasser as not guilty, even if things never get to an actual court.)

So when I see someone like de Guzman (that is to say, a person) say "Diversity and Comics" is harassing people, I'm inclined to believe her and I only look for actual evidence because that's what I'll need to report the account.

(And, by the way, you don't need to tell the victim you're reporting their harasser's account. Doing so suggests you're more interested in being rewarded than actually helping. You don't get a cookie for doing what you should be doing anyway. Just report/block the harasser and move on.)

We are just starting to get comics to a place where women and minority voices are starting to get heard. (There are some phenomenal minority-created comics that just won a bunch of Ignatz Awards by the way! I'd highly recommend picking up Ben Passmore's Your Black Friend if you haven't already!) Don't let assholes like "Diversity and Comics" drag us back to the bland bullshit we were limited to before because everybody else was told they didn't matter. If you see him or one of his ilk causing problems on any social media platform, be sure to report them and let them know that kind of bigoted disregard for people not like them is not welcome in our neck of the woods!
Newer Post Older Post Home