A year later

Well, it’s been a year since RaceFail started. It’s been a rather difficult time for me; I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet because I’ve been learning an awful lot about myself (and my own work) that I’m still processing through. This isn’t a moment for feeling particularly good about that, for reasons that Avalon’s Willow and Deepa point out in their excellent posts — but there is reason for hope, and I’ll let N.K. Jemisin explain why.

4 Comments

  1. Uh… am I allowed to feel dumb that I completely missed this discussion and didn’t realize its relationship to what happened with CG?

    I’m just skimming through a few of the posts, and it rightly makes me feel self-conscious as a writer. Seriously, I try not to create stereotypes out of my characters, but this spells out that succeeding is an uphill battle, indeed. I can see how it could lead to the decisions you made.

  2. Dirk:

    Yes, the discussions that came from RaceFail were what caused me to analyze what I was doing with Clockwork Game, and what ultimately led me put the comic on hold until I could rewrite it to my satisfaction. If you want more discussion, just hit the “RaceFail” category link over on the left-hand side, and you’ll get pretty much every post I’ve made on the subject.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that “succeeding is an uphill battle,” because that kind of language implies that even trying is too difficult and that people should just give up. That’s defeatist thinking, and is well-covered in posts like these:

    http://vito-excalibur.livejournal.com/208031.html

    http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/09/26/damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-dont/

    http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/11/24/nano-tip-no-24-writing-white/

    Here’s an example of someone who’s putting in a very good-faith effort, and how she went about it:

    http://karenhealey.livejournal.com/815447.html

    So, in a nutshell, yes, it’s going to be more work to write characters of color well. But it’s not impossible, and you shouldn’t not-try, because the act of trying (and gracefully learning from your mistakes, which is equally if not more important) is going to make you a much better writer, and your books much better reading.

    In regards to CG — well, I’m still trying. Believe me, I’m still trying.

  3. I had not read Avalon’s Willow’s post. Great to see the POCs on covers, but I find her comment on “people who behaved” both bitterly suggestive and very wrong in at least the few cases I have interactions with. In my contact with a few of the people whose behavior was particularly criticized, I have found it to still be very present in their awareness and their reality.

  4. Fair enough; I don’t know or regularly interact with any of the pros who were most heavily criticized. But I’ll reserve judgement until I see actions from the specific parties. It’s one thing to keep it in mind, and another to act better in the future.

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