Pro Tip™: if someone walks like a racist, talks like a racist, acts like a racist, they are, for all practical intents & purposes, a racist. You really do not need to know if they feel like a racist deep down in their heart of hearts to figure out what to do about them. This isn't rocket surgery, y'all. For a group of folks who coined the term "duck typing", we should be all over this.
To put it another geekly way: if someone does or says something racist, then follows it up with "I was just trolling, yo! I'm not really racist!" then one right response is "I voluntarily fail my Will save! I am thoroughly convinced that you are a shitbag racist, and henceforth will treat you like one! :D"
(Note: expanding on my twitter mini-screed here.)
I don't understand the rational basis behind people's opposition to Anita Sarkeesian's work, if indeed there is any.
I grant that I haven't plumbed the depths of Reddit, 4chan, and sundry gaming forums looking for reasoned argument, because those places are fucking gross. But what I have found seems to be naught more than a paranoid chorus of "she's out to get our games!"
Some self-identified "gamers" seem to think that Sarkeesian's saying "Stop making games". She's not. She's saying "Games can be better than this. Make better games."
The myriad cries of "censorship!" and "political correctness!" suggest the perceived danger is that games will change as a result of Sarkeesian's critique—that the amount of abuse and misogyny will decrease, and that the number of female characters with agency and development will increase. This makes the rallying cry of "she's out to get our games!" sound more like "she's out to emasculate our games!"
I have news for you, gamer dudes. If gratuitous misogyny and violence is how you define masculinity, then you've got a big fucking problem.
You would think that some things are just so racist that, on encountering them, everyone—even white folks, almost to a one—would say "holy FUCK that is some racist-ass shit, what the FUCK are you even thinking?" A sort of Maximum Ignorable Racism Threshold, if you will.
Apparently you'd be wrong, because you can be the most vilified racist shitbag in recent memory and still have people going to bat for you in the mainstream media: arguing that happened to you was wrong, telling people they should "calm down" over your racist remarks.
If this supposed threshold did exist, these racist-ass shirts would never have seen the light of day. Like, seriously, just think how many people have to have been party to that production, with none of them raising sufficient hue and cry to put a stop to it.
I sorely doubt that this is much of a revelation to anyone who's not carrying around a gigantor sack of white privilege. Chalk that up to yet another example of how privilege works to hide the realities of the rest of the world from people possessed of it.
I am just now starting to come up to speed on the Ani DiFranco / plantation retreat thing, but...
If somebody says that a given person's slaves were "probably well treated for the time", and the insidious depravity of that statement doesn't immediately thump you on the head, perhaps this quote will help put it in perspective:
The cells of the Inquisition were, as a rule, large, airy, clean and with good windows admitting the sun. They were, in those respects, far superior to the civil prisons of that day.
That from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica's article on Thomas Torquemada[trigger warning].
I identify the problematic behaviour that's being called out.
I try to honestly and searchingly reflect on how much I manifest that behaviour.
If I do evince that behaviour, then I think about what I can do to improve.
If I can honestly say that I've substantially banished that behaviour from my life, then the comment doesn't apply to me, and I let it pass.