So, uh, basically I did two thinks wrong. The first is pointed out here, in a post I was linked to this morning and hadn't seen previously. It's pointing out that having Yusuf call that cat in that one story "Vindaloo" is not okay because, you know, hipster racism. In all honesty I'd eaten vindaloo for dinner that night, because my writing process is NOT COMPLICATED, and I just kind of did that on a whim--which is not an excuse, not at all, I just want to make sure you guys know that I didn't do any of this *intentionally*. Not that that makes any of it okay--in some ways it makes it worse--but for my own piece of mind, I needed to express that.
ETA: Um. Also on that topic. Having read that entire thread, I feel I should express that I wasn't actually trying to express that Yusuf hated the smell of Indian food? Or that vindaloo smelled bad, and, uh. I did it wrong in part because I have no idea what vindaloo smells like, because I have no idea what *anything* smells like, because I was born with a condition called anosmia, and as a result, I have never had a sense of smell. Any time I am writing about smell, I am faking it.
The *second* thing I did wrong was in this latest fic, where I put Eames in India to be tortured.
When bookshop pointed it out to me, I started at my screen in absolute horror for a full minute. In order to come up with that location, I used the, you know, extremely classy method of clicking on this random city generator button when I started writing, and when it came up with Bengaluru I honest to god didn't think about it any further than that. I didn't consider the potential ramifications, I didn't consider the undertones there, and that is such an example of forgetting to check my own privilege that I could cry.
I feel terrible about this, and, for what it's worth, I am sincerely and monumentally sorry. I am also editing both stories to remove these things, because I would always, always, always prefer to make a change then run even the slightest chance of making someone feel like they're in an unsafe place in fandom. If there is anything else I can do to make amends, you guys, please let me know.
ETA: Vinny's name is still Vinny, but it's after Van Morrison now, which I should have just done in the first place, Jesus Christ. The torture stuff has been moved to Poland, largely because that is where my own family is from, and I'm having some serious anxiety about not making this worse in trying to make it better.
(Comments are open at the moment. If you're angry with me and want to express that, you can feel free, but if this ends up getting wanky I'm going to close them down, okay? Not because your opinions and thoughts and anger with me--Christ, I'm angry with me too--not because those things aren't valid, but because the last thing I want to do here is make this mistake worse by letting it become a mire of negative feelings.)
ETA 12:51 PM EST -- Guys, I have to go into the office now, I promised my bosses I'd come in for a half day and get this RL thing settled. As such, I will be unable to read/answer comments for the next 5-6 hours. I will be back as soon as I can, okay? I promise I'm not avoiding this.
ETA 7:28 PM EST -- Hi, all. I am back from the office and I'm going to work through these comments as best I know how, and at some point I'll probably do another edit of this post to correct any and all of the errors I've sure I made. But just because I should have said this before, let me say it now:
GUYS, I LOVE YOU, BUT PLEASE DO NOT GO OVER TO THAT POST I LINKED TO AND DEFEND ME.
It's not that I don't appreciate that you guys care about me; I do. It's not that I don't understand that some of you have issues with the way it went down; I do. But at the end of the day I made a mistake and this is my attempt to fix it, and the last thing I want is to drag any of you into it, or stretch it out in any way, or create any more argument. I would have asked y'all not to say anything this morning, but tbh I was a little freaked out and trying to get out the door, and I've never had a readership of this size before, and it didn't occur to me that you would *want* to.
I love you, and I'm honored and touched that you'd want to stick up for me, but really, really don't. I fucked up and I'm sorry and that post has a right to exist just like this one and, just. Let's all step back, yeah?
ETA 10/31/10: Oooookay, guys. It's been brought to my attention that the comments to this post are in and of themselves problematic, which I don't dispute. So I'm going to say a few things here and then, for all intents and purposes, I'm going to step away from this discussion--not because I don't think it's important and vital (I do), but because I know that getting too far into my own thoughts/views here is far more likely to make this worse than make it better.
The sentiment has been expressed, repeatedly, in the comments of this post that I have nothing to apologize for. While I recognize that this was done primarily out of a desire to lessen my guilt or make me feel better--to wit, out of concern for me--it is simply not true. This was a cock-up, and it was a big one--this made people feel attacked and unsafe, and, among other things, perpetuated the idea that making casual jokes about race is okay. The fact that I did not mean it to be a joke is completely immaterial; it was wrong. I changed it because it was wrong. Please, please, please stop telling me that my apology was unwarranted: it is hurting people and making people unhappy, and it is also making me unhappy, because I am having a very hard time figuring out how to correct you without causing more anger, hurt and frustration.
Additionally--guys, I love you and I appreciate it, but stop thanking me. This is not something that deserves thanks; I fucked up and I apologized, because I have always been taught that that is what you do. I have avoided stating my own opinion out of a desire to leave the discourse open, and in an attempt to keep from overstepping my bounds, and at least partially because I didn't want to hurt anyone in any way anymore, because I am so sorry about this whole mess that I don't know what to do with myself. But it's been made apparent that in doing so I've sent the impression of tacit agreement with some of the things being said. So allow me to be clear: it is my opinion that doing or saying things that make people feel attacked is wrong, period. It is my opinion that when you fuck up you own it and apologize, period. It is my opinion that being on the receiving end of racial negativity, whether intentionally or not, is terrifying and humiliating and hurtful and awful and wrong, period. It is my opinion that perpetuating an act of racial negatively, whether intentionally or not, is more than reason enough to apologize, full stop.
I do not agree with those comments that say different, and if I have not done a good enough job of articulating that, please believe me when I say it is because I feel literally sick at the idea of hurting anyone else's feelings. And I know that that's not a good enough answer, I know that I need to do better, and I promise that I am trying. I am new to this and I am still learning, and I cannot thank you all enough for how much you've taught me throughout.
I am not deleting the problematic threads in this post, because I don't believe that making things vanish is an acceptable solution to problems. I cannot promise that I will go back through and reiterate the points I've made in this addendum to every comment, because quite frankly my personal life is in a bit of a shambles right now, and I am having some trouble holding my shit together, and that business has no place here. But please, please use caution when reading these threads, and please, please know that I do not agree with the apologist sentiments being expressed, and please, please, above all, do not comment to tell me I did not do anything wrong/do not need to apologize/need to stop beating myself up. Please don't. Please, please don't. I know, I know, I know your intentions are good, I know you are trying to make me feel better, I know that and I appreciate where you're coming from, but it's not the truth and it is hurting people and making people feel unsafe and that is the last thing I want.