It should be a pretty small event, we’re just excited to dress up! But we did make a facebook event for the party. The event had the time, location, and our expectations that everyone dress in some costume. At the very end of the event description we said “I doubt this even needs to be said but don’t be an asshole, no racist costumes allowed”
We figured we’d say it just in case some friend brings a friend who doesn’t have any sense, we wanted to cover our bases even though we are confident that our friends are not assholes. But now we are being facebook harassed by a series of barely friends about this comment. It all started with someone asking “I’ve never heard of this before, what is a racist costume?” A fair question. I responded “Good question! that is basically when you dress up as an ethnicity or in a culture that is not your own. It often plays on stereotypes of ethnic groups. For example: Native American head dresses, a geisha, a Mexican with sombrero and mustache, blackface, etc…”
But then people went haywire: “Not going to this party if i’m not allowed to be Aladdin, he’s a Disney character! fuck that” (to which we uninvited the young man) “It think you’re all just too sensitive” “are any Indians even going to be there, who would we offend?” (also uninvited) “So I can’t even be Jimmy Neutron? He’s Canadian, I guess that’s not my culture either” and it continues.
As a creative writing major, I’ve been in a few writing workshop classes and clubs. There’s nothing that kills the helpful vibe as much as a poor workshop participant. So I’ve made a list of a few tips on how to be most productive in a writing workshop (and how to help people without upsetting them).
1. Always start with the positive: Loosen up the mood by finding something good about the person’s work (even if you generally hated it).
2. Talk in terms of what is “strong” and what “could be strengthened”: obviously, those are other terms for “what I thought was okay and what I hated” but the point of workshop is to help the person improve while minimizing the amount of insults. You want them to revise to the best of their ability- not burn it in their fiery tears of rejection.
3. Stay productive: when you do move on to talk about “what could be strengthened” avoid statements that just tell the author what you disliked. if possible, offer an idea or suggestion to improve what wasn’t working (even if it isn’t the best suggestion ever). For example: “I thought the conflict of the story could be strengthened by adding another internal conflict, was she simply scared that a bear was on her campsite, or was she also scared of herself for enjoying the adrenalin rush?
4. Remember, you’re all peers: Everyone is bringing in rough rough rough drafts of something that came from deep inside them, so don’t look differently at them if they turned in some sucky writing.
When you are the one being work-shopped:
5. Shhhhhh: Take notes, nod, and smile. Do not talk. Do not argue. Its easiest for everyone this way. If you have questions about something someone said, ask them after or email them.
6. Do not be afraid to revise: cut out whole chapters or stanzas, play with it. But don’t delete anything.
White American males constitute only 33% of the population. Yet, they occupy approximately:
80% of tenured positions in higher education
80% of the House of Representatives
80-85% of the U.S. Senate
92%of Forbes 400 executive CEO-level positions
90% of athletic team owners
97.7% of U.S. presidents