Steampunking: Inclusivity, Not Merely Acceptance

One of the themes that crops up at the Racialicious essay I posted runs like this:

"In my experience, steampunk accepts all races!"

Usually, this will be said by someone who's, well, white. Occasionally it will be said by someone who's not, and thus, clearly not my audience, who are PoC and feel all the attendant baggage.

So, in my fucking experience, as a person of colour who will definitely be affected by race issues, it could do a hella lot more.

This is what I'm emphasizing. Do I see that steampunks can be very accepting of various races? Hell yes I can see that. Most other subcultures are the same.

Being accepted is not the same as being actively welcomed. Especially in a subculture that has roots in what is something coded as exclusively very white. Whether or not you mean for the subculture to be exclusive doesn't matter - here's another 101 for you: Intent doesn't matter.

Here's another 101 for you, when you say "in my experience" and you are a member of the default culture, speaking in a discussion which is centered around the experiences of someone who is not part of the default culture, you automatically imply that my experiences - which are at best dismissed, at worst silenced - are an aberration to the norm. Which they are, because they are different from the default culture's, and thus, yours! And, oh, you know what? I don't like that! And here I am telling you how we can make it better! Bigger! More inclusive! So I, and people like me, don't feel like freaks anymore!

This whole fucking noise about acceptance when I'm talking inclusivity is like you saying, "the sky is blue! Of course it's blue! Scientific fact shows that when light bounces off the particles in the sky, it will show up as blue!" when I am pointing out gray clouds on the horizon.


Cross-posted to the Redux Edition


  1. Here a couple of interesting experiments to try...
    1) Ask a white person to describe ten traits about themselves. I guarantee (or your money back) that the word 'White' will not be in there. Why? Because we are never reminded of the colour of our skin. "I see it as a good thing that I don't define myself by racial stereotypes" (actual quote), well of course you won't, when the hell is it ever an issue for us?

    2)Have a conversation (behind closed doors of course) with a group of white people about "positive discrimination". See how many think it's unfair to actively seek to employ people with non-white heritage (if it's less than 75% then +1 internetz to you).
    In my mind that's like playing football with the field tilted towards one goal up until half time when you then level it off again then proceed to look astonished that the team that's currently 38-0 down doesn't feel things are now fair.

    I don't know much about steampunk but it absolutely does not surprise me to hear that "accepting of all races" boils down to just not actively (or rather, visably) discouraging anyone on account of their heritage.

    You know what's worse though? White guys who spout off like they have the first understanding of what it is to be institutionally and actively discriminated against on account of their heritage, background or culture :P


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