And he closely sums up my feelings on #OWS here, too:
And he closely sums up my feelings on #OWS here, too:
I’m posting these because I’ve said similar things to those that trochai expressed in his essay, even as recently as this last weekend at WisCon. I needed a good reality check on processing, and who to process around. Processing needs to happen, yes. But processing needs to happen in appropriate places, and around appropriate people, and one really needs to take a good hard look at the processing as it’s happening, because even as it’s coming out of your mouth you’re realizing why it’s going wrong, and why you need to process more. Most of the reason for my lack of posting this past year is because I’ve been processing a lot. Some conversations at WisCon I participated in this year made me realize I’ve still got a lot of processing left to go — I’m finding that I learn a hell of a lot from people’s silences — but also that I’m making progress. So yeah. Processing my processing.
— Kudos to Pam Noles for this post, responding to an interview with Kevin O’Neill. I realize the possible hypocrisy of me criticizing Kevin O’Neill in this instance, given that my last story also contains a racist doll, but at least I don’t deny that when the automaton was created it definitely had racist overtones, regardless of how many other ways it was used or how else it contributed to scientific discovery.
It also bears mentioning that in her earlier essays, Pam never said “Don’t use the Golliwog.” What she did say is this:
As I’ve said before, writing is research, empathy and effort; anything in the world is on deck as potential source material. But if you’re going to take on something as culturally loaded as blackface or minstrelsy, a footnote needs to be included – you’ve got to have your A-Game on. Like dealing with a select few other extremely thorny topics, this is not something one should go into without awareness. If you are a current day person choosing to toy with this construct, going into it with scant knowledge of or ignoring the big picture, is so unwise. If you choose to work with this trope willfully blind and you screw it up, you deserve whatever level of invective comes your way. You must proceed with awareness.
And this is why I love Pam’s big beautiful brain so much.
I know I’ve linked to it before, but it’s worth the redundancy: go read her full series of essays on the Golliwog in the Black Dossier.
Man, I am so behind on my blogging; the more posts I write tonight, the more posts I remember I’ve intended to write for a long time. This one is probably the most overdue: The Beyond Victoriana Project.
This series is so incredibly amazing and I am so, so happy that Ay-Leen is writing and sponsoring them. It’s a fantastic resource, and shows the vast, beautiful, fantastic possibilities that the steampunk genre can encompass — but only if we stretch the fandom to allow room for more than just the basic Brit-centric faux-Victoriana, and be welcoming while we do it.
Here’s an index. Go read! It’ll crack your imagination wide open.
Here’s another amazing essay from BossyMarmalade. It’s part of the fifth Asian Women’s Blog Carnival — and since I was a big doof and somehow missed the third and fourth installments, I’m going to be checking all three out over the next couple of days.
If you haven’t read these before, please, please go and read them. They’re powerful, important stuff.
Remember that N.K. Jemisin post I linked to a couple days ago? Livejournaler Delux-Vivens linked to one of Jemisin’s later comments that I hadn’t seen, and I want to make note of it, because I think it’s a really excellent rebuttal to “The Tone Argument“:
Yes, I think the “quiet reasoning” would’ve been missed without the “angry” posts. But I’m putting scare quotes around these for two reasons a) because the “quiet reasoning” posts were angry too; very likely every cogent and persuasive post you saw was written by someone trembling with fury and struggling to be coherent. And b) because I don’t recall seeing a single “angry” post that didn’t make a reasonable point…
As for the danger of alienating people with good intentions — well, one of the things that I learned from RaceFail (and also from general experience) was that people with good intentions are the ones to fear most. The overt racists are easy to deal with. You can spot them coming a mile away. But the well-intentioned people are scarier. They might not intend harm, but in most cases they haven’t thought about all the racist (and other “-ist”) messages they’ve absorbed from society. They haven’t done the basic groundwork necessary to purge themselves of that passively-absorbed “-ism”. So they say the most incredibly hurtful, self-absorbed, and utterly useless things, then compound the problem by getting upset when they’re called on it. I liken these people to sleeper agents — they seem OK at first, but then they suddenly “activate” and stab you in the back, and then they come out of their fugue and freak because there’s blood on their hands and they don’t know how it got there and they refuse to accept that they’re the ones who put it there, OMG, OMG. Meanwhile, you’re on the floor bleeding out, unnoticed because of their histrionics.
I oughtn’t quote the whole comment here, but you should really go read the response in its entirety — and read this similar post as well. It’s yet more proof that Ms. Jemisin is a really smart and very talented writer, and gives you all the more reason to go buy her book. Not convinced yet? She has three sample chapters online at her blog.
For those of you who skipped RaceFail 09 (and all its subsequent iterations, including MammothFail and EllisonFail, amongst others), Transformative Works and Cultures has an online symposium featuring a number of RaceFail participants. It’s a meta discussion (a discussion about the discussion), but unlike previous meta, this one is less about the what and who and more about the why and how — it outlines a lot of the types of reactions and arguments, and explains why they’re either successful or stupid and irritating. Or both. As such, it’s still a very good read even if you don’t know any of the writers or have anything invested in SF or media fandom.
So go. Read. I met (or heard speak) all of the contributors at WisCon this year, and was very impressed by each of them.
Karen Healy has written a really wonderful essay about how she’s working hard to Write The Other well. She gives concrete examples, and makes no claims to having done it right — she leaves that up to her (future) readers. It’s a very good read, and closely mirrors a lot of what I’m (still) going through with Clockwork Game. Kudos, Karen. I hope the book does very well for you.
On Monday May 18, 2009, we are asking anyone who identifies as a POC/non-white to post this banner, their speculative short stories, artwork, poetry or simply write a post on their favorite fandom on their blogs as an act of protest to show we will not be silent or invisible. The day of protest is entitled Fen Of Color United or more aptly, FOC_U.
White allies can also show solidarity for this event by posting this banner and expressing the need for diversity and speaking out against the bigotry in the genre, through posts and/or their creative work as well.
In addition, a new community entitled FOC_U has been created. It’s designed to be a safespace for POCs/non-whites and white allies to discuss the issues pertaining to RaceFail and a place to counteract its destructive effects. And it’s also a fun place for everyone to also discuss their favorite fandoms. While memberships and posts are under moderation for the time being (until the community gets more established and input is welcomed), everyone is encouraged to join and make this a home.
I am white as can be, but considering the events of the last few months, I feel that this definitely requires a signal boost.
Edited to add:
Unbeknownst to me at the time of my original posting, there has since been some further discussion on the origin of the community — but I think that, all things considered, I’m going to leave the link up. I think a lot of good can come from communities like this.
By way of example, here’s a lovely post from Shvetufae, a Vögelein fan who took some time a few weeks ago to send me a very thoughtful and eloquent essay on a specific topic about cultural appropriation. Thanks again, Shveta!