I’m distressed to see that some folks who were planning to come to Sasquan are thinking of skipping Worldcon this year.
Because they’re frightened.
I understand why people are frightened, given the racist, misogynistic, and dishonest screeds they’ve been subjected to. It isn’t — alas — unusual for verbal abuse to escalate into physical abuse; and anyway verbal abuse is no fun to begin with.
But I was thinking about what might help counterbalance the situation.
Have you seen news reports of people responding to threats against a particular group by offering “I’ll ride with you”? Here’s the first Google hit off that phrase:
I will walk with you at Worldcon.
I’m not very fond of confrontation. I’m a courtesy 5’1″ and my 67th birthday (how did that happen?!) is just after the convention and I’m walking with a hiking pole while recovering from a hiking fall, an injury that’s taking way longer to heal than when I was a pup.
On the other hand I’m a shodan in Aikido.
On the third hand, which I can have because I’m an SF writer, shodan — first degree black belt — is when you realize how much you still have to learn.
But I’m thinking that maybe it would make folks who feel threatened feel a little safer to have someone at their side, maybe even someone with a bunch o’ fancy ribbons fluttering from her name badge, even if that person is shorter, smaller, and older than they are, white-haired and not physically prepossessing. It’s another person’s presence.
It might cause some abuse not to happen.
That would be the perfect Aiki solution.
Have I thought of the many ways this could go wrong? Or be subject to abuse?
For sure I have.
Have I figured out how to organize and manage this offer?
Not so much, yet, but I’m working on it.
Am I restricting this offer to members of one “side” or the other?
Everyone pretty much knows that I’m of the tree-hugging, knee-jerk liberal, feminist stripe. But if you are a Puppy, and you’re frightened, the offer holds for you, too. I may choose not to converse with you (you know why; I don’t like verbal abuse any more than anybody else), but I will walk with you.
This is not a Sasquan event. The con committee members have plenty on their plate already.
I make the offer in good faith. Whoever you are: If you would feel more comfortable walking with me from a program item to another program item, to the con suite, to your room, when my schedule allows, I’ll walk with you.
I probably will decline to enter your hotel room to scare off the monsters under the bed, but I’ll do my best to make sure you get safely to where you’re going, free of monsters.
Edit, 30 April 2015:
Tessa Kum is the originator of “I’ll ride with you.” Here is her extremely gracious response to this post.