Changing how we think and act

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
I'm tired guys. I'm sure all of you are as well. There never seems to be any good news or frankly, much left of happiness in the world right now. I've had two friends pass away during the last 2 months. My husband is laid off. The world economy has taken a plunge and we're all scared. Now more than ever before we need to check ourselves.....before we wreck ourselves.

We on Division have been fairly occupied as of late dealing with a lot of unnecessary issues. Most of it can be chalked up to the current black cloud we all find ourselves under, but none of it gets a free pass. So please listen, and look at yourself to see if you are guilty of this type of behaviour that needs to stop.

It is human nature to take the actions or traits of one or a few and attribute them to whatever group they are part of. I doubt that any of us can say that we haven't been guilty of this many times in our lives, and most of the time don't even realize that we're doing it. Some of it is easy to spot, and almost laughable. For example, very, VERY early on in my costuming life, an armor maker had someone recast a helmet and start selling them. He was angry and rightfully so. His reaction though was to refuse to sell to anyone in Canada because of the actions of one person. Sure, all of you are reading that and thinking that's silly! How can an entire country be responsible for the action of one? How could someone on the other side of the country or even one Province over, have any influence on this person? Eventually he calmed down and changed his policy to not sell to anyone from the same Province. Granted, that's still a LOT of innocent people lumped in to the same crappy basket, but I'm sure, it put pressure on him from the local community. Still, is it the best way to handle that? No. Now we have blacklist groups which definitely, when the information is correct, are much more effective at punishing the proper person. The onus is on all of us though to do the research and determine who are legitimate makers etc.

As lots of you have seen, another, very large costuming community is going through a very tough time at the moment. And yes, you all know that I'm a long time member of this group. The comments I'm hearing are doing exactly what I'm talking about above. People immediately believe that the entire Legion is full of bad people based on what you are hearing. A world wide group of people painted with the same brush as the actions of a few. A lot of hard working, rule following, kind hearted people. It's painful. And of course, immediately people start discussing that negative situation they had with a member or a group of members and therefore the group is an "eliteist s**t hole" based on those interactions. And because of that, this situation has to be true and they are all bad people! Am I a bad person too? I'm not telling you this to change your mind about the Legion. I'm asking you to focus your bad opinion on the people who deserve it, not an entire Legion of people.

At this point some of you are saying ohhhh look, Angela is defending that group again, but just wait. What about when the accusation is even more serious and closer to home? Yesterday we had someone telling people on social media that the 405th "are all a bunch of racists". Woah now....we're WHAT? Now the finger of blame is pointed squarely at us with an accusation that is a very serious, emotionally charged topic right now. And you know what? People respond to that saying "yeah I had an interaction with them this one time and it was negative so yeah....that whole group is horrible. And I've never heard them be racist but I had that negative interaction so therefore this accusation has to be correct." And all of you reading this are thinking that's ridiculous! Of course we aren't all racist and of course those individual interactions do not define us as a whole group! And you're right! We are NOT a group of racists and negative interactions with our members are very rare. But the brush is painting us that way and because it's on social media it has to be true. I'm outraged! I hope you all are too!

Hmmm....but wait a minute.....some of us just did the exact same thing to the 501st. Why is it okay to do it there but not okay to do here? The answer is it is NEVER okay. This person was spoken to and it turns out that they have issues with 1 or 2 people specifically therefore all of us are that way. I might add, that this person has never brought these concerns EVER to local command or to Division. No, their first choice was to fire at the entire 405th instead. That's wrong. And it's just as wrong for someone reading that statement from one person and believing it accurately depicts an entire group of people. The problem was with 2 people. Sure, it's still a problem and we will always take concerns like that seriously - when they are brought to us. But the specific people involved, if the information is true, are the ones to blame. Not the entire 405th.

This isn't the first time over the last few weeks that the 405th has been accused of things that really are, if anything at all, attributable to one or two people, but more often than not completely untrue and ridiculous. I hate when I see it and I hate the slews of people who join in agreeing with it. And I hate when hot topic words are used purely to evoke a horrified response when there is literally no back up. I can't stop it from happening unfortunately. However, what we all can do is stop participating in that sort of behaviour ourselves. We can always choose to take the right road. If there is an issue, bring it to your local command and if necessary to Division to get their/our help in resolving it. Don't take it to social media and proclaim that the 405th are all a bunch of (fill in the blank). If you see it happen and it's a 405th member or about the 405th, bring it to our attention so that we can attempt to get to the bottom of the issue with calm discussion. Don't argue with the person trying to defend us. And for the love of pete, don't talk smack about other groups. We're better than that. We can only ever look better by BEING better. Always. Don't drag down other groups. Don't drag down other costumers. And before you make such wide sweeping statements, insert 405th in as the name and see if that makes sense to you as being the right thing to do. If it's not cool to say it about the 405th it should never be okay to say it about another group. It's a socially acceptable form of behaviour that needs to die a painful death.

Be the change.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Thanks for writing up on this FANGS. I'm always a little nervous to comment on situations like this, and I was curious as to what an insider's perspective was, but didn't feel comfortable enough to reach out about it. I've seen some of the stuff going on around with the recent events of that costuming group, and as an outside I wasn't sure what to think of it. I was interested because not only have I considered joining in the future, but I also believe that a bad rep in one group can also pose reflections on another entirely unrelated group or even cosplay as a whole. For instance, I've seen people draw/make connections between the 501st and 405th numerous times (possibly because of a similar naming scheme). I believe that even if we didn't have members that belonged to both groups, damage to one can reflect back to both the 405th and the entire cosplay community. I definitely agree with everything you've said, and even as an outsider I'm also glad to simply hear that the 'news' I've seen isn't reflective of the group's whole (and as you pointed out this is rarely ever the case). It is unfortunate that cases like this are better at receiving media attention than the positive work done by the same group that I imagine outweighs and outnumbers the negatives. But I think you're right, and that an easy way to help interpret situations like this is to ask "what if it said 405th instead?". These are certainly rough times, and I also believe that together we can come through it stronger than ever.
 
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