Popping my head back up for a mo’.

The King’s Fountain in Lisbon, Portugal

Hi all! I wanted to take a minute to say something as clearly and directly as I can. Medieval reenactment and recreation should be welcoming to all people. This is a matter of both history and, frankly, being an adult human on planet earth. To assume that Europe was a lily-white landscape throughout the late Iron Age, Medieval, and Early Modern periods is to indulge in the twin sins of laziness and lack of intellectual rigor. A culture of gate-keeping and exclusion, and worse, allowing racism, and its fellow horsemen of shittiness, antisemitism, islamaphobia, transphobia, and homophobia, a place to fester, is what will kill this hobby that I love.

Here are some sources (literally thirty seconds on Google – finding this stuff isn’t hard, I believe in you) to get you started on your research:

As important as being welcoming to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – for why I use this term, see here), the other part of the job is acknowledging that this hobby is often seen as a place where racists, antisemites, islamaphobes, transphobes, and homophobes feel they can find a friendly ear. It shouldn’t be and my corner of it sure as shit isn’t.

I have failed at this in the past, glossing over someone’s assish behavior because they were well liked, or they could talk intelligently about things I wanted to talk about. I regret that I did not do a better job of this in the past and hope that when confronted by it in the future, that I live up to the person I want to be.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that if “Black Lives Matters” makes you shout “All Lives Matter”; or you do not understand the call for justice for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirits; or you feel that systemic racism is only a thing that “snowflakes” worry about; or you think calling your boho-chic outfit your “gypsy garb” is a-okay; or you don’t get why President George W. Bush’s use of crusade imagery when discussing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was hella problematic; or you claim world events are directed by the Rothschilds or George Soros (looking at you, Alex Jones); or “bitch” and “pussy” are your go-to insults; or you think “exotic” women are inherently sexually appealing; or you think “real women have vaginas”; or you correlate sexual preference with “manliness” – then I’m going to suggest a couple steps: 1) acknowledge that change is good; 2) educate yourself (I’ve given you some links above to get you started); and 3) if education doesn’t bring enlightenment, exit stage left (pursued by bear).

I debated for a bit on whether or not to write this, but the wise words of Mode Historique encouraged me to reconsider my position and for that I thank her. I get the desire to be apolitical in your hobby, but honestly, as much as this hobby – these periods of history that I love, get used to support political ideas, it’s probably better to speak than to be silent. The original version of this was a little more directed and a little less free-wheeling, but I kept getting angry and ::gesticulates wildly::.

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