It took me a little bit to figure out why I was so upset, but it went something like:
- there were five or six outright racist (and unrepentantly so) posts at Scalzi's blog, plus a few personal attacks
- this is, on the whole, in a pretty liberal space, so how bad must it be generally in America? How representative are those folks of American thought overall?
- and then, god, when I think about what's going on in the rest of the world, with racism, and sexism -- how women are being raped and murdered, how many children are starving because people can't be bothered to give pennies a day, and then there's all of the damned wars...
Kevin calmed me down reasonably quickly, reminding me that the vast majority of the comments had been positive, or at least understandably confused and resistant, which is also fine. I'm okay with talking through this stuff, at length, because it's hard material, and it takes a long time to work through it (by which I mean months, or years), and maybe at the end of it you still won't agree with me, and that's okay -- reasonable, good-hearted, well-meaning people can disagree about the nuances of this stuff. And by far, most of the people I was interacting with on his site fell into that category, and it doesn't make sense to let a few bad apples spoil the barrel.
As for the pain of the world -- well, at least on some fronts, it's getting better. I have far more rights and options than my mother did, or my grandmother. I hope and believe that Kavi will grow up taking for granted a lot of possibilities that I had to fight for, and that she'll push the conversation further. In a hundred years, we may have made some real progress (if we haven't destroyed ourselves in the process, but I try not to think about that part too much). I'm basically an optimist, so in the end, I do think the human race will end up okay.
But it's hard sometimes, when you stop and realize just how much pain there is out there.