WRITINGBoston.com has an article on Race, the final frontier, talking to black science-fiction writers and fans; one of the writers quoted, David Anthony Durham, has also been interviewed by the Angry Black Woman, and she talks about that and his new epic fantasy novel "Acacia".
Troy Cle also has a new book out; The Marvelous Effect is about a teenage black superhero called Louis Proof. Jozen Cummings at King Mag interviews him on The Greatest Story Never Told.
Naamenblog posts at Feminist SF about the perennial problem of whitewashed cover art
Now... can someone explain this cover to me?Be sure to read the comments, too.
That is not the Zanja described in the books. It’s not the first time a Woman of Color character has been portrayed on the cover of a F/SF book as white.
John Scalzi at Whatever also posts about covers, and goes on to his attitude towards race in his own writing:
I'm very likely to continue to include non-white characters in my books, because, you know, it's a mostly non-white world. I'm also likely to continue not to overtly note their race unless it makes sense to do so in the plot, because that's the way I feel it should be done. Now, admittedly, this is a chicken-and-egg issue; one of the reasons I can get away with avoiding making race an issue is simply positing the idea that in my universes, race doesn't matter all that much, or at least not for the stories I'm telling in those universes. But then, I don't see that as a bad thing.Kameron Hurley at Brutal Women responds with a "rant" on Why Writing Colorblind Is Writing White.
The great thing about being a writer who chooses to "write colorblind" is that you can totally wipe your hands of all responsibility. Just like this (I realize I'm being harsh on Scalzi here, but this pissed me off). I mean, you're not being racist. The world in your head is totally diverse! It's your readers who are racist if all they see is pale people (or dark people, or polka dotted people)!hth_the_first has also posted on "colorblindness", in a fannish context.
From another angle, the writer Tobias Buckell posts on being Caribbean and mixed-race and having his identity questioned:
I jokingly have been called ‘an undercover brother.’ Vin Diesel calls people like me ’shadow people,’ neither one race nor the either due to circumstances and self-identity, and considers himself one, yet another reason for my close attention to his career.minisinoo also posts about her background, with some of the ways in which her Indian (Native American) heritage affects her writing and how to use what you know.
Things came to a head a couple days ago with a few emails challenging me to prove that I was actually multi-racial and not just a ‘poser’ who wanted the ‘advantages’ of being hip and multi-racial.
For some people, any attempt to identify in ways that they can’t control are troublesome.
The Angry Black Woman talks about How To Promote Diversity in Fiction Markets, in response to the recent discussions about "inclusiveness and diversity" in SFF.
If a market is serious about promoting diversity in the slush pile — and therefore upping the chances of diversity in the magazine — the editor/publisher needs to seek out non-normal venues to alert people about submission guidelines. This doesn’t mean taking out a full page ad in Jet or Ebony, but it does mean doing some investigative work and maybe talking to people who might know about these ’secret’ enclaves.In another part of the same debate, tacithydra has a great summary of suggestions from the Wiscon panel on "Destroying Tokenism and Building up Diversity".
Finally, pllogan at We Can Always Dream talks about her response to a post on white privilege in SF/Fantasy.
FANDOMHarry Potter fandom is known for many things, but racial sensitivity is rarely one of them. However, when zvi_likes_tv tried to point out to the mods at daily_deviant that "miscegenation" might not be the best prompt to choose, she expected some sort of attempt to avoid insulting people.
Sometimes people have a problem when it comes to stopping using offensive language. They think that once they explain that they didn't mean to use the word 'that way' the offended party should change their feelings instead of trying to get the white person to change their behavior. I would like to explain to you how this conversation goes down in the mind of a person of color when a white person refuses to change offensive language, after the offense has been explained to them.We thank the daily_deviant mods for providing us with such a beautiful example of How to Suppress Discussions of Racism, and zvi_likes_tv for being amazingly calm and smart about the whole thing.
PoC: You are calling me nigger. Stop it.
White Person: No. It is more important to me to do X than to acknowledge that you are a human being. Have a nice day and fuck you very much.
Discussion on the matter can be found in dozens of posts around LJ; liviapenn has an excellent round-up of links, as does rilina. A selection of additional interesting comments: etrangere (here) and spoggly (here) taking issue with the daily_deviant mods' comments, celandineb supporting the mods, twilightsorcery speaking as a member of the community who agreed with zvi_likes_tv, bethbethbeth inadvertently running into her own "internalized racist attitudes" and solvent90 on the impact of historical racism on the Patels' presence at Hogwarts. More links can be found on metafandom and at their del.icio.us under the "race" and "fandom" tags.
The daily_deviant mods have since apologised and removed the tag.
VIDEOGAMESThere's a new Resident Evil game coming out; guess what? There are zombies! However, in this version, there are also some hinky racial issues, just to add to the fun. Jason of microscopiq talks about his discomfort with the trailer in Blackface Goes HD? The Case of Resident Evil 5:
OK, we all know zombies gotta die. And I loved Resident Evil 4. So why do these early images from the next installment of the Resident Evil franchise make me so queasy?Kym Platt at Black Looks isn't happy either. Richard Windsor at Aeropause thinks Kym's argument is "baseless and without intelligent merit"; Alexei at Refried Screens suggests that maybe we should just ban people in videogames entirely if people are going to get upset, and go back to blocks. Finally, an upsetting follow-up post from Kym on some of the horrible comments she has received as a result of her original post.
With bulging eyes, simian super strength, and a room temperature IQ, we’ve been portrayed as savages beyond redemption. So, when we see images like these, it doesn’t just resonate with the long lived zombie genre, it also triggers memories of so many awful stereotypes — and what those stereotypes have been used to justify past and present.
Elsewhere, Jason at microscopiq also posts about the First 11 Black Videogame Stars:
When I was younger, I always wondered why there weren’t more black superheroes. And, while you could ask the same question today, it also probably matters less. Today’s kids don’t dream about playing superheroes, they get to be the heroes in videogames all the time. So, that got me thinking: just how many black characters are there heading up games these days.And yeloson sets up the community gamers_of_color to provide a "POC safe-space for gaming":
to let other gamers of color know they're not alone as well as white folks know that many POC have these conversations.
Let's talk about games we've played, are playing, things we're seeing and the things we'd RATHER see, and maybe ways to make it happen.
COMICS AND OTHER ARTdburt at Afronerd has a post about Blackjack, a series by Alex Simmons with a protagonist described as "an African-American answer to the Indiana Jones character". Simmons says:
I wanted to write comic books. I thought it was kinda cool; I’d always enjoyed reading them. So I was looking at what I wanted to create. Now, Indiana Jones had been out, the first movie had been out, and I remember thinking again – and that’s when it started to happen, slowly – where were we? I know we were back there, y’know, where were we? So how about a black adventurer, ‘cause then you can see the 30’s and 40’s from that perspective, and it would make the stories more interesting for me to write.
On a less happy note, oyceter is giving up on the Fables series because of the "Orientalist stereotypes" in the Arabian Nights (and Days) arc.
The only reason why I finished reading that arc was so I could blog about it knowing that Willingham didn't suddenly retract something. After that, I threw the book in disgust at the floor. Quite honestly, if it hadn't been a library book, I probably would have thrown it against the wall repeatedly, as just once doesn't even begin to encompass how disgusted I am with it.
On the other hand, Gettosake have some gorgeous artwork up on their blog, and The Museum of Black Superheroes also has some great stuff. Oh, comics; why must you be both so awesome and so depressing?
We also have an interesting article from the African American Registry on the illustrator / storyboard artist David Russell.
FILMChristopher J. Priest at Praise Net posts on Superman Returns in The Gospel According to Superman:
Like President Bush’s election campaigns and the “Moral” Religious Right, Superman Returns completely writes off black America, figuring, perhaps correctly, we wouldn’t be interested in the film in the first place. Superman is, face it, corny. Not very popular with the brothers. The spit curl and underwear outside of his tights. Face it, we probably weren’t going in the first place... the film is a virtual slap in black America’s face. We simply do not exist at all in this world Singer has created. Superman is not here to save us or rescue us.
RESOURCES♠ phil_sf-and-f_writers is a Yahoo! Groups mailing list dedicated to "bringing together enthusiasts of the science fiction and fantasy genres based in the Philippines".
♠ The Carl Brandon Society always has good links and material.
♠ The Erase Racism Carnival is ongoing; it's not SFF specific, but should contain materials of interest.
Many thanks to everyone who provided links and other support, and especially to willow_dot_com, the "founder of the feast".
The next carnival will be posted on 29th September 2007, by bellatrys. Deadline for submissions is 25th September; send them in at the Blog Carnival form. General links of interest can also be posted to the carnival del.icio.us.