I got a lot of messages like yours that were bordering on antagonizing, but I’ll respond to you: this was entirely news to me, and I never meant to be offensive.
I’ll be honest: I think it’s a little much to get upset about this, but I am fully aware that I’m living life on Scalzi’s Lowest Difficulty Setting, with the Celebrity Cheat enabled, so I’ll own that reality up front. My ancestors murdered untold numbers of Native Americans, and I hate that my country was built on their blood, and I hate that the worst poverty in America exists on Tribal lands. What I hate the most is how many Americans don’t know or care. Those issues are, in my opinion, more important than words. Having said that, I see the point you make, that so much has already been taken from native people, and when a White Guy takes something more, it’s uncool.
I never meant to take anything from anyone. I think Spirit Animals are really cool, and I love everything I’ve ever learned about native or aboriginal culture. I’m not trying to appropriate or lessen anything by expressing how much Kelly Sue inspires me, and how I try to be more like her.
It’s amazing how problematic this apology is. I don’t even think Wil gets that he’s whitesplaining.
For the education of those who might find themselves in this situation, here’s a primer on what’s wrong with this response.
First: “I got a lot of messages like yours that were bordering on antagonizing, but I’ll respond to you”
I didn’t like the Tone those other people used. Yours was appropriate! I’ll talk to you.
Second: “I think it’s a little much to get upset about this, but…”
This doesn’t affect me and I’ve never given it two seconds worth of thought. And even though I’m about to launch into a whole explanation of how I get it, I need you to know that my first reaction is that everyone is oversensitive.
Third: “My ancestors murdered untold numbers of Native Americans, and I hate that my country was built on their blood”
This outpouring of white guilt somehow brings it all back to me and how I feel. Curious that.
Fourth: “I never meant to take anything from anyone. I think Spirit Animals are really cool”
THIS WOULD BE THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM, SIR. SIR? SIR.
Fifth: “I’m not trying to appropriate or lessen anything by expressing how much Kelly Sue inspires me, and how I try to be more like her.”
The point is not what you were or were not trying to do, it’s how what you did affects others. Why don’t you express your admiration for Kelly Sue in ways that are not appropriative? Why MUST you express admiration in this exact way?
Also, how fucking hard is it to say: “Oh, I did not realize that invoking Spirit Animals like that is a problem. I won’t do it again." ? That’s really all you needed to say. You didn’t need to whitesplain or get defensive AT ALL.
Let Wil Wheaton serve as an example of What Not To Do! Trust me on this, y’all.
I didn’t realize that invoking Spirit Animals was a problem, and I won’t do it again. I thought that was clear from my reply, and I regret that I didn’t make that explicitly clear.
Also, would you please excuse the fuck out of me for explaining my thought process, and attempting to share my admittedly complicated and uncertain reasoning. Please excuse me for acknowledging that I’m a privileged heterosexual white male in a manner that was not to your liking. Please excuse me for admitting that I haven’t thought about something that doesn’t affect me, because it does not affect me.Excuse me for — wait. I’m sorry. That’s not what I mean. I don’t mean that I need you to excuse me for anything. What I mean is: you’ve shown us all a spectacular way to alienate a potential ally with your self-righteous anger and indignation.
Here’s a pro tip for you, incredibly angry person: when someone is polite and respectful, reasonable adults ten to reply to them a lot faster and with more thought than we do to someone who is a condescending, angry, belligerent asshole. I sincerely hope that you are able to find peace and happiness in your life, and that you’ll continue to speak out about issues that affect you. As I said, you have to have the courage of your convictions and you can’t just sit down and shut up.
You can also not be a dick about it.