WisCon 40

Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:27 pm
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
I keep reminding myself that I literally attended 0 panels this year, so writing up the con should be easy! Ahaha.

I didn't see everyone I wanted to, and didn't spend enough time with almost anyone, :( I'm sorry about that & hope everyone is understanding that I wasn't out/about as much as usual, due mostly to various chairing duties.
Some of this is due to having my own hotel room for the first time, Friday through Monday this year. When I got emotionally exhausted or sore, I could just lie down and go to sleep. It was heavenly.
I also did my best to focus on hydration. It was hot/humid outdoors most of the time, and I certainly had the a/c on & drying me out in my hotel room.

Overall, I was really struck by how many people came up to me and thanked me for chairing and/or for WisCon still being around. There were a lot of generous compliments flying around WisCon generally this year. Maybe it's an effect of not having attended any panels [lol], or because I skipped last year, but this was the warmest-feeling WisCon in my memory. Maybe it's because I keep knowing more and more people.

I attended big events, in part because I had to speak at them! [Only mundane things trololol]

Opening Ceremonies included some speeches. Katherine Cross, or [twitter.com profile] Quinnae_Moon, spoke about solidarity with hotel employees, talking about how we make WisCon together with them, and that they are not our servants. She also noted that the Concourse Hotel is the only union hotel in the city of Madison, a thing I sometimes forget.
I missed some chunks of Opening Ceremonies due to having to attend to chair!things, but [personal profile] antarcticlust and [twitter.com profile] therotund organized a varied group of people to talk about what WisCon means to them. [personal profile] wild_irises talked about how nobody on the concom ever says, "Wow, we did really great this year; we really landed that." Rather, it's a group of people constantly trying to improve. It was the first real moment since taking a year off the concom and then rejoining and then emergency co-chairing that I really felt, "Oh, yeah; that's why I'm doing all this."

That feeling came back x100 during the speeches given by our three Guests of Honor.

I had to have a firm interaction with someone we had banned the previous evening, and who was demanding to know "why" we had ejected him, etc. At one point during the conversation, he stood up and I took a step back to give him space to do so. "Oh, I'm SORRY! Are you AFRAID?! Am I in your SPACE?" I smiled and told him that I wasn't afraid, but between that and his going downstairs to scream at hotel staff in the lobby made me feel pretty confident that we made the correct choice :p

On Saturday evening, I stopped in at the Vid Party a couple times. I think my favorite premiere [that I saw] was [personal profile] garrideb's "Control," about Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda's comic series Monstress. I've mentioned this series in a couple of reading posts, and through this vid, you can at least appreciate Takeda's fan-fucking-tastic artwork.
I fucking love the song, & need to get the single. I'm meaner than my demons...

I got a fair number of books that I'm excited to read from the dealers' room this year, as well as a Sailor Mars scarf and a nyan-cat tiny tote that fits my iPhone 4S precisely.

I try really hard to push back about the "generational split" narrative that many people have formed about people who recently left the concom vs. those who stayed/joined, because it's not an accurate statement.
That said, there is a fairly significant number of white people, many of whom have attended WisCon for decades, who have been complaining about feeling "unwelcome" in recent years - as WisCon works to become more welcoming to people of color, to transgender and genderqueer identifying folks, etc.
If seeing more people unlike yourself being welcomed makes YOU feel UNwelcome, then that's a you-problem. I think that in the post linked below, Mikki Kendall really hits it on the head when she notes that some people's discomfort straight up comes from experience spaces that are NOT centered on cisgender white people.

In addition to personally being called a mealy-mouthed weasel immediately pre-con, another concom member reports us having been referred to as, "gauletiers." I had to look up that word. What IS it with older white feminists and their World War II metaphors? And what the fuck is the matter with them?

But other people have already blogged about these people's discomfort:
K. Tempest Bradford's On WisCon, and Who Is Allowed to Feel Welcome
Because here’s the thing: 99% of the people I have seen or heard complaining about how WisCon isn’t comfortable for them and WisCon isn’t fun are white people. Not 100%. But 99%. It’s a bunch.

You know what else I’ve noticed about the people making these complaints? A lot of them are cisgender, a lot of them are men, a lot of them are people with privilege along multiple axes. Funny that.

And while it makes me sad at any time for folks to feel excluded, or like a space has been taken away from them, I have to say:

Where were you when this was other people feeling this way?

Where were you when people who are marginalized in nearly every other fandom space and came to WisCon thinking it would be different said they felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, threatened, unsafe?


If you’re uncomfortable now, but weren’t before, then think about that. Really think about it. Consider if you were making people uncomfortable before, even without thought or intention. Consider that you’re feeling left out because, in the course of our claiming a space for ourselves, we made clear to you just how much you or people like you contributed to our pain, our lack of fun, our lack of safety. Ponder the puzzle of how a con dedicated to feminism, populated by many amazing people, somehow ended up being a place where people who weren’t the right color, the right class, the right age, the right level of ability, the right gender presentation felt like they didn’t fully belong. And delve deep into the mystery of how fixing that problem is the thing that’s made you run away.

Mikki Kendall's WisCon 40 Highs, Lows, and What the Actual F*ck?
You might not like what WisCon is becoming now that the people working so hard to make it happen are different from you. You might not like knowing that their first concern isn’t the comfort of people who can’t see them as human or equals. That’s a hard road. It’s your road though, so you walk it. But don’t complain that it “feels unwelcoming” because it is becoming inclusive, and less concerned with the comfort of bigots. With the comfort of people who have been happy to not only excuse abusive behavior, but also to be abusers when it suited them. This isn’t “your” WisCon anymore? Okay. That’s fine, that’s your decision. It’s definitely ours now. We work hard for it every year. You can adapt, evolve and enjoy or you can move the hell on. We probably won’t miss you.

There are some weird, pervasive rumors on Facebook about super low registration numbers this year. I'm not sure where that came from - we had well over 900 memberships, and the GOH Speeches/Dessert Salon was packed to the gills. More to come in future WisCon blog posts/etc., I'm sure.

I don't know what my role on the concom will be this coming year, if anything. Maybe I can re-focus on SF3 Board tasks, picking up things that fell by the wayside while I was off co-chairing. For the moment, I'll continue thinking on it.
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Moon Child, volume 1 by Reiko Shimizu - I checked this out because the two co-authors of Anime News Network's House of 1,000 Manga column are finally ending the column, after a hell of a run. Each made a post with their own top-10 posts/series, and one of Shaneon Garrity's was their column on Moon Child. I never thought I'd find a weirder manga than Kaori Yuki's stuff, but here we are. Dumbfounded by the heinousness. But also 90s brooding, like, EPIC. Having to request these from outside the library system, so it'll likely take a while to get through the series. I really miss the publisher CMX, :/ I wish I'd been older when they were still around, & I had more disposable income and could've better supported their series. They released a lot of great stuff.

Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot by Antonia Fraser - Following up my run of Tudors! fiction/non-fiction, I wanted to read this because I never really "got" what this historical event was/its significance/whatever. It was SO FASCINATING. Clandestine Catholics disillusioned by a king who's not as Catholic as they thought he would be, Jesuit priests grappling with whether they can break the seal of the confessional to save lives vs. trying to argue with the would-be perpetrators and prevent the crime themselves, & also a tiny dude who went around building secret hiding places into the homes and properties of Catholics who hid Jesuits and other Catholics on the run. SO INTERESTING. OMG.
After this, I think I'm going to be jumping back in history to read some War of the Roses fiction/non-fiction. Although maybe also first some Mary Queen of Scots stuff.

Arata the Legend, vols. 16-22 by Yuu Watase - Lots of people lost their clothing for various "plot" reasons in a number of these volumes, :p
This series is at its best when it's balancing both of the two worlds, as opposed to focusing on the fantasy world of Amawakuni. The dread that Arata and Oribe feel as they're dealing with the horrors produced by Harunawa is palpable, and makes me connect with the characters' fear in a way that never quite happens with the characters in Amawakuni, save for the ways in which Arata and Kadowaki grapple with their feelings about each other/their friendship, as well as Mikasa's realization about her ~origins~. I'm about caught up to the English release of this series, which is also caught up the point where Yuu Watase had her hiatus. I'm really interested to see where this story goes, now that she's free from her abusive editor.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - A selection from the Sirens list. This was fan-flipping-tastic, like I was blown away by how great it is.

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill - This has been making the rounds at comics club, and I really enjoyed the art while reading these true stories about real people from black US history that I'd never heard before. From people's reactions to that other comic series called "Strange Fruit," I'd say this one is much better, :p

Truth: Red, White, and Black by Robert Morales - or, The first Captain American wasn't Steve Rogers. I've heard of this before, but I think I requested it (not in our library system, :[ ) after some tweets by [personal profile] sparkymonster. In a country where Tuskegee happened, it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the government would have created the super soldier serum by first testing it on black men. Morales pulls a lot of truths from history to tell a powerful story that leaves you reeling. The list of books about human subject experimentation & ethics in the back was obviously of great interest to me, so I added a lot of those to my to-read list on Goodreads.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden - Checked out from the library after [personal profile] jesse_the_k was talking this up in comics club (I think?). Glidden goes on a birthright trip to Israel, despite feeling a little awkward about it because she has some serious issues with a lot of Israel's actions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She's very upfront in describing the the trip that she & her group go on - what they see, learn, & feel.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire - SO FUN. Like, wow what a universe. I ended up rating this three stars, due to a truly absurd climactic battle that leads up to Ultimate Climax, as well as due to wayyyyy too many over-explain-to-the-reader moments. I wish McGuire would trust her readers to make their own logical conclusions once in a while. Like - "the store was locked, that's because someone just died, so that makes sense" - are the sort of things I write out when I'm logic-feeling my way through a scene that I'm writing? But then I rip out during editing, :p
That said, I <3 Dominic, I like the IDEA of a family of Slayers cryptozoologists who have broken away from the Watchers' Council the Covenant to stop killing all demons & instead figure out which ones deserve it, and study/protect the rest.
I suspect I'll like other POV characters more, so I'm eager to read both the other novels and the short stories set in the same universe that deal with her grandparents & great-grandparents.

Hawkeye #22 by Matt Fraction & David Aja - Sad to see this one end, even if it was a good ending. I kind of want to reread the whole thing. Mostly, I wish it weren't over.
laceblade: Dark icon, white spraypaint on bottom with "DA" for Dumbledore's Army. Top text, in caps: We will not obey. (HP: Dumbledore's Army: We will not obey)
Panelists: NK Jemisin, Eileen Gunn, Andrea D. Hairston, Debbie Notkin, Michi Trota

NK Jemisin’s Guest of Honor speech at Continuum 2013 included a call for a Reconciliation within SF/F. “It is time that we recognized the real history of this genre, and acknowledged the breadth and diversity of its contributors...[I]t’s time we took steps -- some symbolic, some substantive -- to try and correct those errors. I do not mean a simple removal of the barriers that currently exist within the genre and its fandom, though doing that’s certainly the first step. I mean we must no make an active, conscious effort to establish a literature of the imagination which truly belongs to everyone.” What would a Reconciliation look like? How can we start one? How can we grow one?

This is not a transcript! But I tried. I faded a lot toward the end - I need to go to bed ^^;;
ALSO, I suggested this panel. *mic drop*

[personal profile] firecat also did a write-up here, & included a number of links for context.

NK: I am losing my voice, oh, here’s the mic on!
This panel is Reconciliation Within SF/F. I have corralled, well, WisCon corralled people to discuss this with us. I’m going to read the panel description and then we will do introductions. I’m the moderator, by the way. [reads panel description]

DN: Many people know me. Not a writer. Been a seller, editor, fan on the chair of the Tiptree Motherboard, lots and lots of stuff. Saw this panel on the schedule, I checked “please” b/c I thought panel was so exciting. Then Nora asked what we are going to talk about, and I thought I should KNOW what I want to say. I did some research and reading and I’m totally excited to be talking about this topic.

MT: I’m a board member of Chicago Nerd Social Club. I’m not a sf writer YET. Do a lot of writing in creative non-fiction, exploring identity within a lot of SF/F, what that has meant for formation of identity for gender. With Grace. Essay published with Jim Hines’s guest writer series in invisible anthology. Saw this on schedule, really want to be on it. Nora’s speech was something I found extremely inspiring. Idea of getting into nitty gritty and how we can make SF/F more inclusive and talking about how the history has been not so inclusive is really important to do.

EG: I write SF. This is the next step. I was very struck with Nora’s speech, which I read. Been to Australia, know what reconciliation means in Australia, know how much widespread support there is for it. I’ve been part of community that is working for diversity since the sixties. Started out being very small. It’s larger now, and we can move it a step ahead. So the community, the whole community, becomes part of a process. That’s what Reconciliation is. In Australia and here. Move beyond individual people of good intent to entire community and getting them to buy into the process. Nora’s comment to establish a lit. of the imagination in which everyone truly involves far more people. Writers, editors, readers, conventions. It’s a huge thing. And it’s very doable.

AH: They all said what I was going to say! I write novels, essays, plays. Teach at a college. Musical theater. Teach screenwriting and playwriting. Told my students I want their work out in the world. I need to change the world to make a place for all my students and all the people I know who want to write. To me, that’s what SF/F is about. This is a core issue. I want to get at the core issues, and beyond the snark. I want to get beyond snark to building the world we want.

NKJ: Want to note I’m the moderator, and also its subject, which is a bit strange. Going to strange my thought process behind that speech, but other than that won’t talk much. Thoughts on reconciliation have evolved and changed. I will talk more about this in my GOH speech on Sunday. For now, let’s go with what I said last year. For those who didn’t fully understand context, I went to convention in Australia intending to do usual touristy things. Figured I’d see kangaroos and some stuff. But in order to acclimate to the city, I just walked around and visited museums. Went to Melbourne City Museum. While at the museum, one thing that struck me repeatedly was how honest that museum had been about how Australia’s indigenous population had been treated. Until 1970s, classified as fauna - as animals. During the worst of the early colonial period, there were hunts and barbecues. Not kidding about the barbecues. Scalpings, and so on. Not of white people - the indigenous. This was all in their museum. They weren’t holding it back - yeah, it was just that bad. Part of the healing process for coming out of this time was their willingness to acknowledge that. Struck by public meetings - a pause, and a brief acknowledgment of the land they were on, that was stolen, and gave respect to the indigenous people. “We took it, we’re trying to be nice now.” To the degree that you can.
Moment of immense sadness - this would never happen in the US. Same thing happened here except barbecues - the US can barely manage an apology let alone an acknowledgment of just how bad it was. Constantly hear politicians wanting to rebrand and rename what happen. What to call slavery the Triangle.

AH: In Savannah, want to call them the workers instead of slaves. Tourist ride on a boat. This was recently.

NKJ: That was my thought process. If we can’t even acknowledge what happened, of course you can’t move on from it. That was my thought in SF/F. Still not acknowledging a lot of what happening, not acknowledging what’s still happening, nor longterm impact. Genre dominated by white male voices. That wasn’t nature. Start with questions in panel. What would a Reconciliation look like?

EG: I think if you’re really talking about a reconciliation of the literature, you need everybody involved in that. You need the writers, how do you bring them in/get them involved? They have to read one another’s work. White people read white fiction. Black people read black fiction and white fiction. Native Americans, if isolated, could read…? Ways to get into groups and make it cool to read lots of different kinds of literature. The problem here lies with white people reading white people stuff. Problem not with POC. POC do read divergently. I think really that’s where it would start. Readers read divergently, publishers publish things that diverge. Editors buy divergent books. There will be a feedback effect.

AH: As I was thinking about this, thinking about what do I want? I want what EG is talking about. People to read what storytellers offer. To have that be available because when less and less opportunity. We have the Internet and you can find if you know what to look for. Having accessibility means knowing what to look for. We all know a certain set of names, but don’t know another set of names. We’ve got to have access to possibility of reading all those wonderful writers. Asking students when they come, and they don’t know any of the writers I’m about to read. I get them excited and then they are. But then some of them are afraid - take Magic If class, and surprised there are black women writers. I’m standing there - you’re the professor? Then they go wow, this is good. And it doesn’t kill them. I want people to risk themselves. In order to have reconciliation, in order to forgive, in order to move, you have to leap. You’ve gotta leap to it. We have to make risk fun. Like, this is not my comfort zone, I might feel lost the first time I read this book. After ten, my students are all like, “Yeah, we know it all.” But then they want to go out and read and find more. They’re launched. They become fluent. See things they couldn’t see when they read the first piece. By reading, you become a reader. Not before.

EG: Have a plan for that, don’t know how to implement it. Amazon and others include “more like this,” include more with POC. Someone needs to provide them with more books like that. Match up, “If you like this book, you’ll like all these others by people you didn’t think to read.”

NKJ: If I am looking for books on Amazon and looking for Daniel Abraham’s latest, I see my books.

DN: E and A went toward the future. I’m struck by Nora’s speech and reconciliations happening in Australia and South Africa and how they look at the past. In South Africa, acknowledged the land. Didn’t realize it was a thing until just now. When I was listening to Nora just now, thinking about what it would be read if in the beginning of every book/magazine, a boxed statement that said, “This genre is historically white and male. …And so is this book.” Or, “And this book isn’t.” Just an acknowledgmenet of the ground you stand on. Kernel of something in it, worth playing with.

ET: Like the idea of being able to do that. Lots of classes I’ve taken, been SF literature, it’s the same authors over & over without any acknowledgment of why that is, why every time you look through a syllabus, it’s Asimov, Heinlein, Tolkien. Integrating that acknowledgment that the genre has always been more than those authors. There have been WOC, queer authors, it’s not a new thing. It’s actually not something you need to be in a certain mindset to get into. If you love the genre, you’ll love these writers even if you’re not familiar with them. Even going to a bookstore, “If you like George RR Martin, you will like X.” Conscious effort to put a variety of authors on those cards. Doesn’t have to be big gestures. All little things you can make to normalize that the genre is more than straight white male voices with straight white male characters. So when you pick up the book, “Oh, it’s been written by a black woman, it’s still going to be really good because it’s of the genre.”

NKJ: Next question we had talked about was tackling the harm that has been done. A reconciliation takes place after a great harm. In South Africa, it came after apartheid. In Rwanda, after the genocide. In Australia, the genocide and ongoing treatment. After they were taken off the fauna list. Because of the response I’ve gotten on that Reconciliation talk, was there enough harm done in this genre to reckon a reconciliation process? Examples of what and why a reconciliation would be necessary.

ET: Two examples. There was a class I was taking last year, a massive online classes. Talking about gender in comics. Actually fairly new thing to tackle. Male/female sexuality presentation. Several weeks in, looking, and there’s not a single character of color being discussed. None of that. Couple of classmates also POC and I were tweeting at the professor, asking why we’re not discussing them. Giving us the idea that talking about gender in comics defaults to white POV. Her answer boiled down to, talking about gender in comics is already complicated. Talking about race too makes it more complicated. Have to save that until next class. Assumption that talking about race makes something complicated is a huge hump to get over. C2E2 has been good in past couple years in having discussions about diversity and representation. Two panels about diversity in general. One about LGBTQ issues in geek culture. Three about women’s issues in geek culture. None about race. Someone, at least one person, submitted a fantastic panel looking at black women and identity of being a nerd. She was told it’s a great idea, but there were too many fantastic ideas and we couldn’t take it. They had sexual identity, gender identity, diversity in general, and deliberately not looking at race - not doing it on purpose, but it’s like they don’t want to touch that issue b/c it feels complicated or feel uncomfortable spotlighting it. Huge hurdle - how can we talk about how race is an issue in SF/F unless we’re willing to have them in the first place?

NKJ: There’s an historical compartmentalization in marginalization. Fitting in with a panel seen done over and over. Shoving off of those issues into the political - out of the normal center of whatever it is you want to have a conversation about. Assumption that you have a white default & everything else is other. Inherently politicized because of that default. Trying to have a conversation about inclusiveness, who is involved/who is supposed to be here. Impossible to have that convo. People think inclusive means extra, means additional effort.

EG: Assumption that default, that the neutral, that there IS neutral state.

DN: Not using the word scared. Nora, you said we’re never going to have the reconciliation in the US. I hope you’re wrong, but I think you’re right. Amazing to me how frightened most white people are about talking about race, saying the word, admitting people have races. There are ways it’s a completely made up thing, but in daily life it’s terrifying to me how terrified other people are. Maybe too complicated, etc. So scary. For me, I talk about it every chance I get to everybody I can. Only thing I can do to demystify it a bit.

NKJ: Resonating it. Fear comes from a sense of threat. The feeling that if we acknowledge the contributions of these groups we’ve tried to keep out, there’s a question mark and like, profit in there? But it seems to me reasoning of people who are so resistant to having these conversations is that if we admit for example that…

DN: Worked on size acceptance and fat liberation. If you say, “Fat women are beautiful,” huge group of thin women who immediately hear, “You are not beautiful.” That’s a quick example.
NKJ: Part of American thought. Our culture built around idea that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE group in power. If not white men, society will be taken over, we will grind them all beneath our heel!

AH: There’s rage, too. “I didn’t do anything!” right? I’m not responsible, I didn’t own slaves, I didn’t beat women, .


AH: Systemic and then the individual saying, “I can’t take all of this!” & therefore I won’t deal with any of it.

NKJ: For example: Read only the first Game of Thrones. And I have not followed the TV show, don’t watch much TV. Giving a talk at Brooklyn Museum. Two young black women fans were shaking with rage, I had said something to effect of, “Assumption in epic fantasy that medieval Europe was basically white.” If you say they were a few brown people there, just a few (there were more than a few), medievalPOC blog was instrumental in getting across just how many. Queen Elizabeth tried to get rid of them b/c so many, then she realized she couldn’t b/c so many.
Me as a person who thinks she knows something about history, educated, writes epic fantasy - I didn’t know that! And yet, George RR Martin who describes his series as realistic & constantly defends himself as realistic - two girls upset got into it on his board, said why we see only a few POC and only exist in narrow range of stereotypes? Immediately attacked by fans, and Martin said something vaguely disparaging about the topic. No folks like that back them, they weren’t there.
We see the fantasy population that not only is wedded to false notions of what actually was, but willing to fight you if you try and change it to reality. They will hurt you, they will send you death threats, they will do terrible things. This is an example of the harm we’re talking about. This is violence. This is conceptual violence. Violence being done to our ability to have fun reading epic fantasy. In order to read epic fantasy, have to be willing to swallow a level of white supremacy that I shouldn’t have to swallow. We are so inculcated in the idea that this is the way it has to be that we’re not willing to change.
I’m sorry, I’m talking too much.

ET: I have a hard time understanding why we can’t have those convos. Fans. Writers aren’t perfect. Why can’t we have those conversations about Westeros or the story/we love it, let’s take the story apart and look at how it’s reflecting these problematic tropes. The more we learn, it’s not the way that it works. Defensiveness that comes out is like attacking a person’s essence of who they are b/c of the things that they like as opposed to ideas and the things that they like. Biggest problems in having a reconciliation - our identities are so deeply wedded to the things we’re fans of. If saying something is problematic, interpreted as, “there’s a problem with YOU.” Having those conversations is extraordinarily difficult. Saying someone can still like something & still see there are problems is good.

EG: You are criticizing them as people. They’re closing themselves off to part of reality. Not everybody who reads a writer, but some people who become so identified with the work, they become deeply invested in what that work is about. Then, the way you look at the world is skewed in a way you’re not perceiving reality correctly, you are telling them you’re doing something wrong. You’re right to tell them that, how can a SF writer pretend we live in a white world? We don’t. Won’t live in a white future, too. You’re doing them a favor but might not be perceived that way.

AH: I write historical fantasy. People want to argue with me about what happened in history. V. interesting. In futuristic, had a world only spoken a few language. Someone in US: “My God, how could all those people end up speaking only one language having come from all these other places?” I didn’t even know what to say. I meet them, they’re telling me about it. I asked their credentials/what’s their basis. They said, women didn’t make films. This is just another fantasy. I said more women made films at the turn of the 20th century films than they do. I’m a scholar - I actually wrote a master’s thesis on this. Guy says, “Oh, really?” I say often, I’m a professor of theater at Smith, people don’t acknowledge that. Not taken seriously, what you do is devalued. I constantly have to explain that what I say might be true. I don’t get the benefit of the doubt. We have to start asking who are we questioning and why. Maybe I should do some homework, maybe I should question MYSELF. We’re imbued in reality we grow up in. Before we leap, maybe I should go and check this first. Look that up. Before I say, “This is how it is,” with authority. Yet I get people speaking with authority on things I am an authority IN. I can’t get the kind of secure place to play as an artist because I’m constantly defending my position. I’m not just writing it, I’m defending it. Part of the reconciliation for me would be someone to read my writing and say, “Wow, your paragraphs,” instead of, “How dare you have Native Americans in your fantasy,” you know?

ET: Some of us are more willing and used to questioning our assumptions because that’s how we’re raised, because we have to prove ourselves constantly. We check, we triple check, if I open my mouth and I’m wrong, it’s that much worse. People with privilege, don’t check their sources, doesn’t occur to them. Please check your sources? Check your assumptions about who’s speaking. When you read something & come upon internal “Wait, no, that can’t be right, I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Stop, think for a second, Google. Then you can go back and talk. Taking five minutes is going to save everybody a huge amount of problems.

DN: Take that a step further and say, “I need to tell that person they’re wrong.” Often, you DON’T need to tell a person they’re wrong. Those kinds of - really? That’s really interesting, what’s your source? If people ask George RR Martin & AH in the same tone of voice - like, “I didn’t know medieval Europe was all white, what’s your source?” That’s a really interesting reconciliatory gesture.

NKJ: Going to questions soon. Wanted to bring up one another example, which is the assumption of expertise or correctness. Thinking, is Daniel Older in here? Anyone affiliated with Long Hidden? Please check my facts on this. I half-watched on Twitter. Long Hidden anthology came out recently, deliberately intended to be unheard voices in SF/F genre. Number of stories in voices and tones and styles that are atypical within the genre. Recently a review of this book in Strange Horizons. Review tossed off in an offhanded sort of way, when people use dialect in fiction, it’s a literary trick. It’s a shame this otherwise great story was damaged by careless use of this trick. Person who wrote that story speaks in this dialect. Whole point was to bring dialects we don’t hear into public sphere. Daniel Jose Older, one of the editors, took exception. Pointed out among other things, the fallacy. Also that dialect permeates American literary canon. James Joyce, Twain, all people lauded. James Baldwin said you can imply it - remember, minstrel shows, darky dialect? If you use it, we don’t want to hear it, seen as minstrel shows. After Baldwin said that, white writers started using this as something against using it. Apex responded with an editorial, working with an author who had dialect, struggled between how much to include to not be accessible. Tobias Buckell did it a certain way. He is now the James Baldwin of SF.

ET: He made an interesting point, about Apex article in general. Ended up not being about the dialect so much as reframing the discussion to be about the editor’s feelings as a white woman trying to do the right thing, and no she wasn’t racist because she was concerned about dialect. Can we not reframe it to be about white tears and feelings? If you want to have a discussion about dialect, keep it framed on what you’re trying to have the discussion about. It’s not about someone’s feelings about not being a good person. It’s not helping or moving the discussion forward. You’re reframing it to be about the privileged view point.

(missed some)

NKJ: How many voices have been policed out of the genre? Could Ancillary Justice have been published a few years ago? (lost entire thread here, sorry.)

EG: Thinking about dialect issue for quite some kind. Both practical POV and a sort of Irish heritage POV. One of most popular writers from 19th/20th writers wrote in dialect. Left-leaning wildly liberal journalist. Wrote fabulous stuff, hilarious funny. Written in Irish dialect. Very difficult to read. Can only be read aloud. I tried to translate it, and found it was impossible to take the words he’s saying and put them into conventionally spelled English. You lose something in doing that. People writing in dialect they can hear, they’re not faking it. They’re hearing something that cannot be told in another way. Not easily translated.

NKJ: What is wrong with asking the reader to be multilingual?

AH: I’m from the theater, I listen to voice. Use not just what’s in the quotes. Nalo Hopkinson, writing the whole narrative in the dialect. The meaning/understanding of the world, the perspectives, the cosmology, are in the [lost] of the words. [more thoughts lost] I think we can go there. You know, a lot of people don’t understand physics, right? When I write that, I don’t get as many complaints. They go there. It’s really distressing me - where we will go. We don’t want to talk about some things, therefore we don’t make an effort. This country in particular, we’re afraid of more than one language. Because it’s about power.

DN: When a white man makes up a dialect out of nowhere, it wins the World Fantasy Award. I’ll leave that adjective out of it…

AUD: Junot Diaz: Motherfuckers will read a book that is one-third Elvish, but write a few sentences in Spanish and we’re taking over.

AUD: Do you think it’d trivialize fantasy to [lost]?

NKJ: People put what they want on to it. I write about things that don’t exist, people assume I was out to get white people in the Inheritance Trilogy. You can’t divorce race in this country.

AUD: Inconvenient truth problem here. If we acknowledge what we’ve done to POC, then we have to do something about it.

AUD Isabel: Asked question about quantifying the harm, trying to talk - has there been sufficient harm to justify reconciliation? I thought about examples. I thought Michi was going to talk about death threats and rape threats. When Andrea talking about having to prove her qualifications, that affects your career, your ability to sell a book, speaking engagements, tenure. These are quantifiable losses. In feminist circles, if a woman makes 75-cents, over her lifetime, that’s X amount of dollars. How can we quantify the harm so that we CAN justify a reconciliation?

NKJ: Any statisticians? Or actuaries? Statistic of women losing money over money, we could say loss to women authors and POC who could not get a slate on Book Con. A chunk of BEA exclusively white and male, and a cat. They now have a diversity panel, yes it’s much better.

AUD: Fascinated by idea of dialect. There are many groups who speak dialects of English but still have to understand/practice standardized English. [Lost some sentences.]

NKJ: Code-switching.

AUD: Trains our brains, trained to hear and understand different kinds of nuances. I don’t really understand what the problem is. A reflection of a reality that we live in. Why would it still be so controversial to use dialect? People do it all the time every day.

AH: My answer is power. Language is power. To say, you can’t speak English and you must speak mine, is about power. My language orders the world, you speak my language because I am in power. Those whose dialect is the standard don’t have to learn anything else. Those who speak two languages are the dumb ones. In the US, how we defined ourselves was partly by power dynamic. Take all Africans and make them speak English, don’t want Spanish people having any kind of foothold, we will define our political reality using culture, which we do all the time. We forget our history. It’s about power.

AUD Ian: Comment is that all I’ve heard about question of framing what the harm does, is always about the harm to people on the downside. Women, POC, whomever. I don’t actually believe that’s accurate, that’s a loser argument in getting white guy who doesn’t care, to care. MLK used to say you can’t keep a man down without staying down with him. Does anybody on panel want to talk about harm to majority position?

DN: Eileen did speak to that in beginning. How much we’ve lost - not just loss of compassion, heart, or whatever. Loss of what we could have read, what we could know. All you need to do is look at Octavia Butler’s books & wonder how many black voices every bit as a good did not have her luck/moment/strength to battle against all the obstacles? How many women, disabled people? I Feel like I’ve lost an enormous amount, personally. Further you are up the privilege chain, the worse it is.

EG: Feel self-conscious thinking about it. Feel very strongly that white people have lost knowledge that POC can bring. The warmth. Enormous number of wonderful interactions that white people - right off, don’t talk to black people, move away from them on the bus? Makes me so unhappy to think about that. The fact is that by that, the active oppressors are losing so much. With a slight shift, they could regain. Could enjoy life so much more.

NKJ: Will briefly say one of the reasons why I hesitate to reframe the argument to what white people/men lose is, they already dominate the conversations.

AUD: From Canada. Bit of a different perspective on reconciliation. In there, it was “reconciliation.” Committee is wrapping up, how many people know that? Not very many. Almost no attention. First Nations saw how superficial it was. At the same time, reconciliation can’t happen until acknowledgement. At the same time, a study on how many First Nation women - how many murdered? Number was shocking to them. What is government doing in response? Nothing. They said we don’t need to do more, we’ve done our reconciliation.

AUD: Just read TNC’s on case of reparations. Would love to see that in SF. People get just the facts, the history, over and over, every time, really loud, no blushing, just no, this is what happened. Why do you think Heinlein is the best? I will tell you why you think Heinlein is the best.

NKJ: In 1st/2nd volumes of Dark Matter, there is an excellent rundown on racial history in science fiction. My mind was blown when I realized WEB DuBois wrote SF.

AUD: TNC wrote piece on reparations. Everyone should read it. About the fear - the majoritarian group has fear that once minority gains power, will act exactly like majority. Fear of revenge, and then fear of justice having vengeful motivation as opposed to just motivation. Sure, days when oh yeah, that would be alright. But need to work towards that. Seriously, read TNC piece.

DN: read “this country needs a better class of racists.”
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (FF6: Celes)

See also, spoilery rants: 1 and 2.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Elizabeth Bear speaks out!

MY FAVORITE PART is how she tells people they're being mean but uses no specific names. How do we know who's actually being "mean"?!


MY FAVORITE PART is where she arbitrarily declares a ceasefire, complete with a time and date so she can get mad at us when we ignore it.



laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I have RL stuff to deal with at the moment, so mostly this post is a collection of links I find fascinating. As always, [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong is awesome for finding all of the links! I just find the ones I think are most relevant and put them in an order that is useful to me. Hopefully when I have time in a few days, I can write a post of my own.


A timeline in a comment made by [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster

Kathryn Cramer has used a pseudonym on the Internet! LOL!

Despite turning EVERY ARGUMENT EVAR into a discussion about class politics, and how racism doesn't matter as much as classism, AND ESPECIALLY DESPITE learning where various LJers went to college and then somehow using slight of hand to insinuate that their opinions about race and class no longer matter if they come from a background of financial privilege....Lo! Will Shetterly keeps himself poor so that he does not have to pay taxes! LOL!

Why these people fail.

The politics and deconstruction of "outing."
[livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur: Once More, With Failing

[livejournal.com profile] veejane on how this shitstorm is indicative of the "old guard" of the SF/F fandom handing over the keys with a huge tantrum.

[livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink: kicking some major ass.

[livejournal.com profile] shati on how people's race and backgrounds are playing a role in how people are treated in this, RaceFail 9000.

[livejournal.com profile] yeloson: Engaging in Violence

[livejournal.com profile] maerhys: Beyond Me To We: On Usernames, Legal Names & The Internet

[livejournal.com profile] raanve has an exchange with Kathryn Cramer, in which Cramer acts heinously. Her logic! There is no sense there! As noted by others.

How to Derail the Fight Awesomely

[livejournal.com profile] darkrosetiger is collecting links to fanfiction about characters of color in Stargate: Atlantis over at [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking

[livejournal.com profile] tacky_tramp: Turning us to the posts that actually discuss cultural appropriation!

[livejournal.com profile] springfluff is a fandom exchange with no deadlines or administrative pairing-up of people. You just post requests for fanfic, fanart, icons, interpretative dance, whatever. And people can provide for the needs of others at will. A lovely way to destress!

[livejournal.com profile] inaname is now open for submissions.

[livejournal.com profile] nextian: Post what you want from media, and others will tell you where to find it. AMAZING.

[livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc is a great community to add to your friends list! Even if you, like me, are not doing the challenge of reading at least 50 books by people of color in one year, it's a GREAT way to get all sorts of book recommendations!

[livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster with a picspam of hot men of color. And I do mean hot.

So, if nothing else, we know which side of RaceFail 9000 has the most fun.

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] wisteria_ with a picspam titled Kara Thrace, in adjectives.

Via [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, Joss Whedon's original Dollhouse pilot script! I haven't had time to read it yet, but word on the Internet is that it's a lot better (SURPRISE!).

[livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore on Dollhouse, 1.2, and [livejournal.com profile] entil2001 on the same.

[livejournal.com profile] ladyjax "PSA: Images of Blackness".
This is for all my peeps who need a little ammunition when confronted by anyone who thinks that watermelons and Black folks go together like, I don't know - rice and butter or who immediately tries to roll with, "But it was just a joke? Don't you have a sense of humor?"

[livejournal.com profile] smuu on Naoki Urasawa's Pluto and 20th Century Boys. I loved Monster! I'm afraid to start reading this other stuff and having to wait so long between new volumes!

I'm keeping my eye on [livejournal.com profile] reread_no_jutsu because it's been a while since I read what I read of the Naruto manga. [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore has already voiced most of how I feel about the series in this post, here. IT IS SO GOOD THAT I AM REPOSTING MOST OF IT HERE!
All shounen has some serious problems going on regarding gender. Even Claymore and Fullmetal Alchemist, the two series that seem to have largely ruined me for any shounen that I wasn't already attached to, have problems. But I am, in general, more lenient with shounen than I am shoujo. The target audience for most shounen is 13-15 year old boys. Their main interest in plopping down their allowance every week for Shounen Jump is reading about a couple guys going "And now...I will show you my TRUE power/SECRET move/etc!!" "Writing for the target audience" doesn't absolve a series of any problems it has, but it is an important consideration, and it's why I can get past things that would normally (and sometimes still do) irritate me in Samurai Deeper Kyo, Kekkaishi, Black Cat, Bleach (sometimes) and various other shounen I read/have read but aren't jumping to the front of my head at the moment. And though the line between them can be difficult to see, there is a difference between focusing on your main character and sidelining a character, and when you pick up a shounen action series, you're most likely getting a series where most of the attention will be on variations of certain, primarily male, character sets. It's pretty much an inherent part of the genre, and one that, if it doesn't work for you, largely guarantees that the series will just irritate you.

Naruto, though, always bugged me more than other series when it came to female characters, and I think it's because of this: Is there something in the DNA of every ninja tribe in that world that results EXACTLY one girl for every two boys born every year, stretching back at least 50-60 years? Is there some sort of law in every tribe that says each and every team (though there might have been teams introduced later, or that weren't around long enough for me to remember them that upset the formula) must have exactly 2 boys and 1 girl? Why are there no teams with 2 girls and 1 boy? All boy teams? All girl teams?

In theory, the numbers themselves should put Naruto a step ahead of other shounen simply because having 1/3 of your cast be female in the typical "cast of thousands" makes you female character outnumber those in other series about 5:1, proportionately. And yet, it's so exact, so deliberate, that "one girl for every two boys" can't be anything but a conscious decision. And when it's so conscious, it makes the treatment of gender stand out all the more. And then there's the fact that, in this world, almost every character the same age has near identical levels of training and experience. There's no variety. In personality and individual specialty, yes. But as presented, every character of the same age (with the exception of characters like Sasuke and Gaara) should be on equal footing, with some allowances made for personal strengths and weaknesses. In another shounen, you'll have a character with little or no training or powers, one who is new but who has enormous training, and two who are experienced fighters. That the only girl of the four is the one with no powers or training is a problem, and not one that should be dismissed, but it is a textual reason for the girl to not be in the middle of the fight with that arc Big Boss. With Naruto, however, that isn't there. The girl in question has as much training and experience as the three boys. Yet she's still the one sitting it out or fighting a lesser opponent while the boys are fighting the arc's Big Boss. So while I get grumpy that Yuya/Okuni/Mahiro/Orihime/Tatsuki/Tokine/etc. isn't on a par with the boys in terms of getting to fight and win fights, and can at least follow along with the why of it as presented by the manga. But with Sakura/Hinata/Ino/etc., I'm left with the feeling that Kishimoto is standing there going "look, I gave you exactly one girl for every two boys...do you really expect me to actually give them something to do in addition to existing?" (Plus, other shounen tends to at least let them have goals and motivations and backgrounds and lives separate from the guys, and the only female character I can think of in Naruto that that applies to is Tsunade.)

An example post....Introducing Team 7!

101 Primer

Jan. 24th, 2009 10:43 am
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
This post is for posterity, and forever under construction. It will be linked to from my profile.
At the moment, is race-heavy in linkage because of current Internet discussions, and rather light on feminist ones. This will be rectified in the future, don't worry.

I made the post mostly for myself: as a resource I can turn back to whenever I need to check myself. I encourage others to use it as well.

My journal is operating under the assumption that everyone who comments in it is beyond the 101 level when it comes to differences in gender, race, hetero-normativity, differently abled people, etc. I assume that you understand that some people benefit from privilege due to the way our society is structured.

"But, Mystickeeper!" you say. "I don't believe you!"
"Well, Jimmy," I say. "Sit your ass down, and read these posts. NO REALLY. Read them."

Privilege is Real

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
Things You Need to Understand #4
A Primer on Privilege: What it is and what it isn't
"Check My What?" On privilege and what we can do about it
Your Science Fiction Twin
Male Privilege

So you've accepted that privilege is real. Congratulations! Please keep reading.

Applying it to Real Life

Derailing for Dummies
How Not to be Insane When Accused of Racism (A Guide for White People)
Why I Hate White Anti-Racists - Because when a white person is accused of racism, their response might be: "But let me tell you about this one time when people of color were prejudiced towards me! I know what racism is all about!" No. You don't.
How to Suppress Discussions of Racism - a tongue-in-cheek piece, but very well thought-out, and points out the absurdities in the ways in which many conversations develop.
Racism = Power + Privilege
By definition, Blacks and other minorities cannot be racist because they do not have insitutional, systemic power. The term Minority doesn’t even refer to a minority of numbers any more (after all, minorities outnumber whites in many places, now), but instead to a minority of power.
Reverse racism does not exist. It just doesn’t.

Sexism = Power + Prejudice
Colour Blindness
(Color)Blindness as a Metaphor to Racism
What Kind of Card is Race?
The Privilege of Politeness
Anti-Racist FAQ
Simplifying the Language of Race: Some Definitions
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Cultural Appropriation 101
Sherman Alexie: How to write the great American Indian novel
How to write about Africa

Race and Fandom

What hurts about race and fandom
You left me outside and now you want in
Do You Even Care About Us?
RaceFail '09: This Hurts Us All
RaceFail, Silence, and Words
On Safe Spaces
The Clue Train

Positive race + fandom
The Remyth Project
[livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust
[livejournal.com profile] fight_derailing
[livejournal.com profile] verb_noire
[livejournal.com profile] iconsofcolor
[livejournal.com profile] ofcolor / People of Color SF Carnivals
Fandom/Kiva OTP!

Bingo Cards

Bingo cards exist because discussions about race and gender and what-have-you happen all the time on the Internet. No really, they do. It might be a huge and epic thing in your journal, but for, say, people of color, these conversations occur with such frequency and predictability, they are able to construct bingo cards of common ways people who benefit from privilege react in conversations that involve their privilege.

The words that fill the bingo cards are statements otherwise known as "made of fail." They take the focus away from the topic at hand (racism in society, appropriation of an oppressed culture by that of a dominant one) and re-shift it to white people and their Great Pain. Do not say these things! Ye will be called out on your shit.

Cultural Appropriation Bingo
White Liberal Bingo
Anti-Feminist Comics Bingo
W*ll Sh*tterly Bingo
Working Class Bingo
No Racism in F/SF Bingo
The 'Feminist' Discussion About Transpeople Bingo
Fat Hate Bingo
Fat Hate Bingo 2
Anti-Feminist Bingo
Cultural Appropriation Bingo

[livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur shows how a game of Bingo is "played" during the events of RaceFail 9000.

What Now?

There's a whole Internet out there! Start here:
Baby-Stepping Away from Racism: A Guide for White People
Becoming Better Allies: Consciousness-Raising for White Fans

[livejournal.com profile] racism_101
[livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite
[livejournal.com profile] ibarw
[livejournal.com profile] ap_racism
[livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking [Membership is closed; do watch and listen.]
[livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc
[livejournal.com profile] 12films_poc
[livejournal.com profile] halfamoon
[livejournal.com profile] 14valentines
[livejournal.com profile] lgbtfest
Pro-Character of Color/Anti-Racism Guide - a massive source of LJ resources! Amazing!
LearningDiversity.com: Online Vignette Exercises for Racial Diversity Training
Racialicious: The intersection of race and pop culture

Credit Where Credit is Due

Very rarely do people on the Internet stumble across a great many articles all on their lonesome. I found many of these links by way of [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong, [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope, [livejournal.com profile] zvi_likes_tv, and [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster.

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
In regards to addressing my own white privilege, I am very much still in the "STFU and listen" phase.

So, while I don't have anything much say, I just thought I'd say that [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong has been doing link round-ups of the on-going online discussion regarding Cultural Appropriation, and points to both people who struggle with white privilege and people who write great posts.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I need to catch up on BSG. I still feel like I've broken up with the show, because I've never gotten over how good it was in the beginning and how much it later sucked, but I will still watch the rest of it, by God.

It seems like every year, I get one of the Worst Colds Ever, and that's why I haven't posted for the last three days.

It's like a truck hit me. Monday night, it was so bad that I stopped eating dinner because I could taste anything and it was almost impossible to breathe.

This morning, I finally woke up breathing through my nose again, and I was all OMGYES. It is not entirely gone - sometimes when I yawn, my hearing improves a lot, and I still need about 5-35 tissues per hour. BUT. We are much better than Sunday/Monday, I tell you what. I have been a shut-in after work, all week long. I can't say I haven't enjoyed it. Now, I look about in askance, wondering how my apartment got to be so messy, and how much of it I can tidy up tonight after finishing this post.

I know that I have lots of comments to reply to, so don't feel bad if I didn't reply to yours. I didn't reply to anybody's! Everyone is neglected! Yay!

I am hesitant to write the rest of this post, because of what happened the last time I wrote about a sensitive topic, but you know what? I'm not going to be quiet about these issues just because I'm afraid of people arguing about it in the comments of my LJ. Just don't be assholes to each other, or I will make fun of you.

ALSO, please don't skim over the post just because it's easier to do that.

The way you think about topics like feminism and anti-racism and queer people and ableism and fatphobia and everything else matters. The way narratives are delivered matters because narratives shape our lives. What you read and watch, and how people are represented in those different media, MATTERS. You internalize it, whether you read it or not. It's pretty clear to me who on my FL reads books/shows written primarily by middle-aged/old white guys, and who does not.
Maybe you pride yourself on not reading many books, but advertisements and TV shows and personal interactions and Facebook messages tell stories. So do you, every day, when you open your mouth or type on your keyboard. Because everybody's telling stories, it means we're in constant conversation with one another, that we affect the narratives of other people's lives, and that yes, Billy, you'd damn well better think about the way you say it, when you say it, and to whom you are speaking.

To be perfectly clear, YOU MUST READ THIS POST BEFORE LEAVING A COMMENT TO MY POST. If you don't, I will know, and I will delete your comment.

What a nice preface paragraph! Because the posts to which I am about to link are in conversation with each other.

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala on "writing the other"

[livejournal.com profile] deepad's I Didn't Dream of Dragons.
One of the most frustrating arguments I’ve encountered is—If you hate it so much, stop bitching and write your own.

This naive position stems from the utopian capitalist belief that all markets are equal, and individuals are free to be what they can driven only by their inner divine spark.

I like this as a response to [livejournal.com profile] hopelarson's recent post, even though it wasn't intended a response to her.

Avalon's Willow's An Open Letter to Elizabeth Bear

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala (Elizabeth Bear)'s direct response to the open letter.

[livejournal.com profile] truepenny (Sarah Monette)'s response to the same open letter.

Linked in the comments in one of these posts somewhere (directed to me by [livejournal.com profile] were_duck) is this post originally written a while ago.
In other words, I don’t want you to bite your tongue to avoid saying stupid, racist shit. I want you to stop believing the stupid, racist shit that you said. When I say, “You just said some stupid, racist shit,” I am not trying to silence you.

I think I personally identified the most with [livejournal.com profile] were_duck's post, because I hear a lot of myself in it. She ends her post by asking if anybody has YA recommendations for books by/about POC (or SF suggestions), for the purposes of being able to recommend books to people who shop at the bookstore she and I both work at (aside from Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Nisi Shawl, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, and Nalo Hopkinson who are already well-represented at our bookstore). I did send her to a post on the topic made by [livejournal.com profile] oyceter a while ago, but anyone else with opinions can leave them here, or in [livejournal.com profile] were_duck's journal.

[livejournal.com profile] yeloson's Remyth Project, which is obviously on-going.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope's Cultural Appropriation: Once More With Feeling

[livejournal.com profile] deepad's White People, it's not all about you, but for this post it is

I find this entire discussion intriguing most of all because 1) it started with a bunch of white guys talking about cultural appropriation, but then the feminists ignored them and began our own conversation instead. 2) Instead of being a defensive asshole, Elizabeth Bear has maturely and thoughtfully responded to comments made to her, unlike, say, Tamora Pierce or Seal Press those dudes who did the Eclipse One cover and still didn't get it.

Remember what I said about reading this post before leaving a comment. I WILL KNOW IF YOU DON'T, AND I WILL DELETE YOUR BS.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I still can't believe this all-white main cast for the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie.

I mean....jeez, even just look at the logo! What are those Asian characters doing there, between the words "Nickelodean" and "Avatar"?! Or the world map, where each nation is labeled with an Asian character. Or, you know, the entire series, where every costume, setting, name, and fight style is Asian-influenced.

[livejournal.com profile] glockgal has perhaps the most useful Q&A, especially for those unfamiliar with the show Avatar. It is here.

The Angry Black Woman also has a nice post here.
But let me be blunt: one of the things that hooked me about this show was that it was set in an all-Asian world. And it wasn’t fucked up. OK, let me clarify. You know how usually, when there’s an Asian character in an American TV show, he (or more frequently she) ends up as the martial arts master, the (white) hero’s submissive love interest, the dragon lady vamp, or the magical elderly person dishing out nonsensical proverbs and occasionally a can of whoopass? The thing is, all of these stereotypes are present in Avatar to some degree. But because the whole world is Asian, they’re lost in a sea of non-stereotypical, non-exoticized, perfectly normal human beings. How amazing is that? Not only that, but Avatar actually depicts different Asian ethnicities. Though this is a fantasy world, there are clear allusions to the Inuit, Koreans, Mongols, Tibetans, several flavors of southeast Asian, various Indians, and more. The Chinese- and Japanese-analogues of the story actually come in several varieties (Earth Kingdom and Fire Kingdom, Kyoshi warriors, etc.).

This is just so upsetting! Avatar is perhaps the strongest thing I have in common with my nephew, and I'm kind of disgusted that this amazing interest in a cartoon full of strong women and people of color is tainted now. My nephew even ASKED me for Christmas if I could find him action figures of Katara and Toph. A boy specifically asking for action figures of girls of his own volition! Amazing! [Also, how come now when I look on Amazon, I can only find Aang and Zuko?!]
But now when he sees this movie I'm going to have to be all, "Don't you think it's weird that everybody's white in this movie?"
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
I've seen and heard some people saying that the reason Proposition 8 passed in California is because people of color turned out to vote for Barack Obama, and then voted against gay marriage. Some people have some things to say about that. Please go read their entire posts. Some of them include detailed demographic maps, and are important to proving their points.

[livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster wrote this post.
Blaming people of color for Prop. 8 passing in California is racist. So cut it the fuck out. Ditto for veiling your racism with "this is because of turnout for Obama" or "you know how conservative those immigrants can be."

California is 43.1% white, 35.9% latino or hispanic, and 6.7% black (source). So even if every single black and latino person in the state voted Yes on 8, that doesn't actually equal the 52% who voted for it. And since people of color are not the borg, you know how Prop. 8 passed? White people voted for it. True story!

Saying "well the black community is homophobic" is bullshit. First, are you trying to say white people aren't homophobic? Really? What is the race of the people who killed Matthew Sheppard and who assassinated Harvey Milk? What was the race of the person who signed DOMA? Second, you're ignoring all the queer people of color out there (and their allies). Third, you're being racist. Racism is what happens when you assign as stereotype to a race of people.

[livejournal.com profile] ladyjax said many things, among them, this:
If anyone saw the commercials for the No on 8 campaign here in California, then you know that the few times when they did show people in them, they were overwhelmingly white. The Yes on 8 campaign? Busted out with a clever commercial (and I'm gonna call it clever because it sure as hell was), that showed a Black preacher, a Latino gentleman (you couldn't tell what he was doing but he was positioned Joe Regular) and then a white woman with a child. They hit the high notes: church, San Francisco judges (boo, bad!) , and 'what do we tell the kids?'

Yes on 8 did massive organizing in POC communities. No on 8? barely a blip on the radar screen.

....When white people roll up on Black folks about being oppressors, there's some truth to it but that gets lost when people start to remember: "Hmm, that rally for (immigration rights, education, housing, etc. etc.). I didn't see you there." In some areas, if you throw in gentrification and how it plays out when white gays and communities of color collide (as evidenced by the movie, Flag Wars, then you get some idea of how easy it was for the Yes on 8 people to make the inroads that they did.

Sometimes the fight isn't always about what you want but about reciprocation. It's also about fighting like your life depended on it. One thing I wish the No on 8 campaign had done from the beginning - hammer home the message about discrimination. Emphasize how easy it is for a group of people to have their rights taken away by the popular vote of the people. Skip the oh so gentle assimilationist approach ('oh, but we're just like you. Really') and go straight for scorched earth - "You don't have to like us but if our rights can be taken away, it can happen to you. This is a constitutional change not a Sunday picnic. Think about it."

I wanted to quote the entirety of [livejournal.com profile] darkrosetiger's post, so instead, just go here.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Firstly, I will remind you all (as Dave reminded me!) that the first Act of Dr. Horrible goes live today! These are only staying live until midnight of July 20th.

I'd really like to know how the conversation went when deciding on the cover of this week's New Yorker. "It's okay for white people to be racist, because we're being ironic!" No.

Black Lagoon is one of my favorite anime series, and it's been announced that it will have a third season.

Last Sunday, I went to see the movie Wall-E with Creighton, Carolyn, Gordon, Antoine, and a couple of friends of C&C. I had forgotten to mention that, but I did find the movie incredibly sweet. Probably the only critique I have of the movie is its treatment of obesity, equating it with laziness, stupidity, and ignorance. There is an article describing this, and why it sucks, here.
Wall-E is an innovative and visually stunning film, but the "satire" it draws is simple-minded. It plays off the easy analogy between obesity and ecological catastrophe, pushing the notion that Western culture has sickened both our bodies and our planet with the same disease of affluence. According to this lazy logic, a fat body stands in for a distended culture: We gain weight and the Earth suffers. If only society could get off its big, fat ass and go on a diet!

But the metaphor only works if you believe familiar myths about the overweight: They're weak-willed, indolent, and stupid. Sure enough, that's how Pixar depicts the future of humanity. The people in Wall-E drink "cupcakes-in-a-cup," they never exercise, and if they happen to fall off their hovering chairs, they thrash around like babies until a robot helps them up. They watch TV all day long and can barely read.

It ought to go without saying that this stereotype of the "obese lifestyle" is simply false. How fat you are has a lot more to do with your genes than with your behavior. As much as 80 percent of the variation in human body weight can be explained by differences in our DNA. (Your height is similarly heritable.) That is to say, it may not matter that much whether you eat salads or drink "cupcakes-in-a-cup," whether you bike everywhere or fly around in a Barcalounger. If you have a propensity to become obese, there's only so much that can be done about it.

That's not to say that our circumstances can't lead us to gain weight. But there's little evidence that overeating causes obesity on an individual level and no real reason to think that anyone can lose a lot of weight by dieting. (Most of us fluctuate around a natural "set point.")
The article should be read in its entirety. It contains many links, sending you to lengthier discussions of these issues. Perhaps someone could forward a link to Rachel Moss.

I don't know how many of you have been following the Helix kerfluffle, but the most absurd exchange I've read thus far has been when writer Yoon Ha Lee contacted F&SF Helix, asking them to remove her story from its archives. She no longer wants to be associated with them after a writer posted their rejection slip on LiveJournal, showing that it contained negative views of Muslims. Emphasis is added by me.
Sanders flounced off in a huff, stating that the story "never did make any sense" and that he only accepted it to "please those who admire your work"--what altruism!--"and also because (notorious bigot that I am) I was trying to get more work by non-Caucasian writers." If I were a writer currently submitting to Helix, I would kind of worry about that bit--all things considered, if a story really does suck, I'd rather have it rejected so I can fix it.

He then played psychic and claimed that I only asked for the story to be withdrawn "because, let's get real here, you feel the need to distance yourself from someone who is in disfavor with the kind of babbling PC waterheads whose good opinion is so important to you, and whom you seem to be trying to impress with this little grandstand play."

He closed with: "There was a suggestion I was going to make, but it is probably not physically practicable."

I'm actually totally okay with being told the story makes no sense; I'm fond of "Shadow Postulates" for my own reasons, but it is indeed a flawed story, albeit a flawed story that several readers have enjoyed, so it's not all to the bad.

In any case, there it stands. As for my literary career, small thing that it is, maybe it'll survive, maybe it won't. We'll see.

Meanwhile, if you are a fellow chromatic writer who writes stories that make no sense (and trust me, I have done this LOTS, and I have friends' comments and the rejection slips from F&SF--which I am, note, not posting--to prove it), try Helix! Send 'em in! There's a home for us now! (Well, y'all rather than "us," because I suspect anything I hypothetically sent to Helix would be deleted unread.)

What a jerk! Where do these people come from?

Sanders has now said that any writer who wants a story removed must pay $40.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
You know what? I look pretty damn cute in the pictures of me that got uploaded to the SASS thread. Indeed, I love what K. Tempest had to say:
I was scrolling through the thread and looking at the pictures and, instead of being ashamed that I associate myself with such people (horrors!), I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful all those images are. They are pictures of beautiful women of all sizes smiling, having fun, loving where they are and what they’re doing. These are the poeple I go to WisCon to be around. And nothing those half-brained monkeys on that forum say can make me feel any different. You wanna call me out as a fat loser? You go right ahead. But it’s plainly evident that I not only have more class than you, I also have a better life and better friends. All the evidence I need to support that statement is my lack of time spent on the internet trolling for pictures of people I don’t know in order to make fun of them for arbitrary reasons.

Get a life, you losers. And coming from a Star Trek fan, that’s fucking sad.

Panel 191 Report: Last time, on Battlestar Galactica...

Reading, Viewing, & Critiquing Science Fiction and Fantasy ♦ Sunday, 11:30-12:45 A.M. ♦ Senate A

We saw the first part of Season Four, let's talk about it. Where is the series going? Let's speculate on the ramifications of the final five Cylons, Roslin's reoccurring cancer, and all the good stuff in the rest of Season Four.

M: Ben Burgis, Maddie Greene, JJ Pionke

This panel began at 11:30pm. Most of the panelists were drunk, as was most of the audience. This was hands-down the most hilarious panel I attended during the entire convention. I don't even remember what we talked about, and I didn't even drink. Cracktastic Cylon theories and references to Ikea planets were made. It was the just-perfect combination of people making insightful comments while also being drunkenly cheeky. I think my favorite moment (aside from Starbuck's white viper coming from Ikea) was [livejournal.com profile] heyiya's "I have a really complex and insightful theory, but I've had a few beers and I can't complete this thought process!" I had so much fun that I didn't take any notes.

I didn't attend the "Is Racism Inherent in Fantasy?" panel, but I have heard a lot about it from friends (whose brains were broken). [livejournal.com profile] badgerbag has video responses from people who attended the panel. My friend [livejournal.com profile] brdgt is "Bridget" in three of these videos, and you have the opportunity to see how hilarious she is.

[livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink has has posted about the "Can Internet Drama Change the World?" panel, posting a mostly-complete transcript of the panel. I attended this panel, and intend to post my own notes later, unless I decide that I don't have anything else to say. The consensus, though, was "Yes, Internet drama can change the world."

Here be sign-out stories, involving Tamora Pierce, Patrick Rothfuss, and Maureen F. McHugh )

Yesterday was work and grocery shopping, but [livejournal.com profile] sasha_feather and I had time to eat dinner together, and I then showed her the first two episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist. She is pretty new to anime (I think she's only seen Cowboy Bebop?), so I cackle with the glee of corruption. She hopes to reciprocate by getting me to read slash fanfiction.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
So. I've been complaining to Chad lately about how some people suck at feminism, and I feel the need to explain some things to the world (which is clearly best done by writing in my blog).

I will start with a hypothetical situation. We'll start with Chad - Chad has lived across the street from my house since birth, and is now a roommate of mine. I went through all of my schooling with Chad, and I am really hard-pressed to think of a single person who disliked him. He is a quintessential nice guy - the popular people liked him, the band kids liked him, the choir kids liked him, those marginalized for various reasons liked him. It is why Chad's/my plan for world domination mean Chad will run for political office, and eventually president, and I will be his chief of staff. He is well on his way, having now entered his first year of law school.

I digress. So, Chad, our quintessential nice guy (he is an eagle scout), when encountering a person of the opposite sex performing some act of manual labor will offer to complete the task for them. In Chad's mind, he is doing it because he is nice. When describing such mentalities, he uses the word "chivalrous." In his mind, it is honorable and right tell a girl, "You don't have to do that. I can do it instead."

I know that I can't speak for every woman, so I will speak only for myself. When a task involving manual labor needs to be completed, and it is sensible for me to be the one to complete the task - either because it is part of my job description, or because I would benefit from the task being completed - I see no reason why I should not do it. When I am told by a man, "I can do that instead of you doing it," I feel like I am being told, I can do this job better than you can or You are incapable of performing this job adequately. I feel this way even when people such as Chad are the ones to make the suggestion. Even when I know that people such as Chad have the best of intentions. Because what is behind that intention? A socialized mentality that men are "built for" physical labor, while women are not. It is not Chad's fault that he has been socialized in such a way, but the socialization process he went through does effect how he interacts with and treats other people. This is true of all people, especially men. It is possible to be sexist - to say sexist things - without being a mean person.

In fact, when having the conversation about whether or not I could blog about it, he tried to justify his position as righteous by saying, "I would help an elderly person cross the street." He quickly recanted, saying that that was a bad analogy, but it's still what came to mind first - and it really is a telling analogy. Comparing an elderly person, who is feeble and frail, to a woman who is striving to, say, cut the lawn. Making a comparison implies that it is beyond her limits for the woman to complete a task that requires muscular strength to perform.

None of this is to say that Chad is a bad person - verily, Chad is one of my best friends, and I think he is a very good person. The intention of this blog post is to show that sometimes, even without meaning to, a person (and it is not always a man - women do it all the time, too) can be sexist. This also applies to racism: Without trying to, a well-meaning person can say something racist. It doesn't mean you are now an enemy of all people of color, or of all women. All it means is that you should try to pay more attention to what you're saying, and why you're saying it. Similarly, if you benefit from privilege - if you are male, or if you are white, you need to do a really good job of listening. It can be really hard for a woman, or a person of color, to bring it up when they encounter sexism or racism with their friends, in class, in the workplace, or at the store. They are afraid of not being taken seriously, of angering people they care about and/or respect, and afraid of their words having no effectiveness.

So, listen - listen for subtle cues. Listen for when people hesitate, look for when people have fleeting looks of anger. Listen for where someone goes into a defensive mode by using a sarcastic quip or silence, and ask yourself why they're doing it, and if it might be something you did or said.

It's difficult to shift your mind into thinking in such a way if you're not used to doing it, but once you do, you'll be surprised at what you see and hear. Why is the default pronoun always "he"? Why is every class that I have contain a sea of white faces? Why do people of a certain color tend to ride on certain bus line, while people of another color tend to ride other certain bus lines? What areas of town do these bus lines go to - upscale or down? Why?

Most of all: if someone accuses you of being sexist or racist, the first thing you need to tell yourself is: "CALM DOWN." Chill out. Ask them why. Apologize. Tell them you did not intend to be offensive. But most of all, take their explanation seriously, and think about it for a while, even after the conversation is over. And try not to do it again.

It really is that simple!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Weekend Recap
This weekend was intense! On Friday night, I went to a bar on Capitol Square with Antoine and some of our friends. It was the first time I had made an open tab with my debit card at a bar....and then I forgot the card there, and didn't realize it until we were half-way down State Street! I borrowed one friend's bike, and another friend's helmet, and booked it to the bar and back. I wish I had my bike here! Even if I didn't ride it to school or work, it would be nice to have for exercise.

Saturday, Antoine and I drove down to Mitsuwa, the Japanese marketplace outside of Chicago, for its annual Bon Odori Festival. Many Japanese Americans were dressed in traditional clothing, and it was awesome. I was a little put-off by the few non-Japanese Americans who chose to show up dressed as anime characters. I don't know. Maybe I'm too judgmental. It just felt really weird. A cultural festival is not the same thing as an anime convention, where it is expected that people freak out and wear cat-ears and dress like what's-his-name from the series Bleach. I don't know. It felt disrespectful, but I don't feel as though I'm eloquent enough to articulate why.

Other things done/obtained at Mitsuwa )

Antoine and I spent the night at a friend's house in Kenosha, along with 4 other friends. In the morning, we ate doughnuts and then went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. I had picked an excellent combination: skirt (hella hot and humid) and socks/shoe-boots (had recently rained; lots of mud), although it looked pretty ridiculous, I'll admit. I did a good job of not buying much of the expensive, pretty things that are at the Renaissance Faire. I did get a sterling silver necklace, with a Celtic pendant that has an onyx in the middle of it, though.

Antoine and I ended our trip with a dinner at Real Chili, and it was delicious. I came home exhausted, but it was a pretty sweet weekend!

Hello, World.
Also, what the hell, I'm actually going to be in Madison this weekend, and thus far, my only plans are for Friday night (and a possible slight hangover on Saturday). Sooooo....let me know if anybody is up for anything! Gretchen, maybe we could watch the last disc of season 3 of Buffy this weekend!

I have updated my Bookmooch inventory with some of the random sci-fi stuff I picked up at the sale last week. So, if you see anything you like, you should mooch it! Also, if there's something really good in there, let me know, because I haven't read all of them (except for the Dawson's Creek books. I definitely read all of those. Shut up.) In spite of lots of manga being uploaded and mooched by people who are not me while I sleep, or while I'm at work, I still have lots of CLAMP titles that should be coming my way. Bookmooch is a pretty nifty website.

It is International Blog Against Racism Week. I will start with some links.

If you have not heard the story about the Jena 6, then you should read about it here, at NPR's website.
And after that, you can go here to watch some footage of the families of those involved, etc. It is an appalling story about how a racist culture is very much still alive.

The terms 'racism' and 'racist' tend to get people all riled up. It's scary to most white people to be called out on their racism, because they don't try to be racist. And thus, here is an excellent article to read, especially if you are white, such as I am. How not to be insane when accused of racism (a guide for white people). The guide is directed at white people, of course, because in the United States as in other places, they benefit from white privilege.

Oyceter had a nice post defining terms, such as "white privilege," and race (as a biologically artificial construct, which has become socially real).

Links are a good place to start. I will perhaps write something of my own wording before the week is out, but for now, there is a bit of work to be done for sleep.


Jul. 16th, 2007 10:56 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Holy crap, I have so many windows open that it has now become necessary for me to blog quickly before I try and fall asleep right away. I work bright and early tomorrow!

Anyway, link-spam first.

Harry Potter
Firstly, I was reading some Q&A over at J.K. Rowling's website (yes, she actually answers the questions). I will link to ones that I found intriguing.
Link 1. (It was said somewhere in an interview that a character who had previously displayed no magical qualities would do so in book 7. Thus, my guess is Dudley.)
Link 2. (SPOILERS for book and movie #5)
Link 3. (Spoilers for book 5; wasn't in movie. I hope this means that the dead Order of the Phoenix will fight the Inferi or something. It would suck a lot if they became the Inferi.)

I liked the write-ups two of my LiveJournal friends made about the fifth Harry Potter movie. Obviously, spoilers for movie/book 5 behind the cuts. mon_starling's thoughts, and snowystingray's thoughts.

Mugglenet's list of loose ends that should be tied up in book 7. Obvious spoilers for book 6 are there.

Another post on the Transformers movie, with a lot of conversation in the comments. I find everyone's comments very insightful. I still have no desire to see the movie, and am glad it's not my childhood that's being messed with. :P

An essay: Helpful Hint for the Colorblind: BE LESS BLIND

Racism on an International Scale, a post and link roundup by Oyceter. It focuses on the mentality held by people in other countries that "racism is not a problem there," and is only a huge issue in America. Oyceter points out that more often than not, the person making this claim is a member of the race in power in the country in question. Interesting thoughts, links, and comments abound.

Oh yeah. Me
What else has been on my mind? Oh yeah. What the heck has been up with the Romeo x Juliet anime lately? I'm through episode 11, and it has been teh lame lately. I feel like I'm forever waiting for something awesome to happen to live up to this amazing premise, and it never does. It's like watching Last Exile or something. Also, what happened to the gender-role inversion? I literally laughed when Romeo promised to protect Juliet. Like, wtf.

On Thursday night, Steph came to visit me! We went out with my co-workers, talked endlessly, woke up and shopped, ate some foods, and generally had an excellent time. I've missed her a lot, and I found a birthday present for Dylan. We celebrated his 6th birthday on Sunday, when I was at home at my parents' house. Everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time.

My sister's cat had been MIA for nearly 3 weeks. It had gotten out the back door, and hadn't come back. I had been mildly mortified because Olivia, my 8-year-old niece, kept saying things like, "Our cat is gone right now, but she is coming back!" and I was all, oh God, they will be traumatized. But on Saturday, someone who lives a block away from my sister's house called, and said that they had found it. So, now they brought it home, much skinnier than she had been before. Now, when I pet her, she is docile, and doesn't randomly bite my hand any more.
Amelia (my four-year-old niece) sat on the couch while the cat sat on top of the head rest. "Kitty, my kitty came home," chanted Amelia, resting her head against the back of the couch. The cat stretched out a declawed paw and rested it on Mia's forehead, intermittently moving the paw back and forth, caressing the top of Mia's curly head. WTF, motherly cat love!

On Saturday, my extended family and I attended a wedding for my cousin's step-daughter. It was at a country club, and was gorgeous. We stole cake before we should have, took over the dance floor, sat on the balcony and waited for Brewers results on my cousin's cell phone, laughed at inappropriate moments, stole sand dollars off the tables, and my mom and sister each stole a floral centerpiece from a dining table. Mostly, though, was that dancing thing. Really, there are so many girls in my family - from age 4 to 64 (my mom), we pwned it. It was amazing. I only wish Antoine could have been there, but it's okay. I think he's coming Up North with me in two weekends! OMF!

laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Cultural Appropriation Revisited Part One

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Senate B• Saturday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

As part of an ongoing discussion of the issue of cultural appropriation, this year's panel will address what is perhaps the most controversial, and certainly the most discussed, aspect of cultural appropriation in fiction: the use or exploitation of cultures across racial, ethnic, or national lines. Writers and activists who concern themselves in their work with issues of dominant and marginal cultures will discuss the use in narrative of markers and artifacts of cultures that are not the authors' own. Should this be done at all? Where do the limits fall? How is it well done and how poorly done? Sponsored by the Carl Brandon Society.

M: Candra Gill, M. J. Hardman, Yoon Ha Lee, Nnedi Nkemdili Okorafor-Mbahu, Victor Jason Raymond


First of all, I highly recommend you read up on what happened last year, at Wiscon 30. To my knowledge, has compiled the most complete list of posts that have been referred to as a "blog war." Essentially, the same panel was present at Wiscon last year, but instead of focusing on the prescribed topic, it declined into a conversation about white people and their guilt. [livejournal.com profile] rilinaHer link roundup is here, and she was even kind enough to put everything in chronological order.

Before I write my notes on the panels, I will say that I am white and don't have a lot of experience talking about race with others. If I say something that pisses you off, please tell me. I promise that I won't accuse you of being racist (wtf), deny the fact that white culture exists, or tell you that you're imagining things. Seriously. Tell me.


I don't have anything to say about this panel that hasn't already been said.

There is also a fairly elaborate transcript here.

You should also read [livejournal.com profile] oyceter's writeup.

Book Recommendation:
Mindscape, Andrea Harrison


Cultural Appropriation Revisited Part Two: Facilitated Discussion

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Senate B• Saturday, 4:00-5:15 p.m.

The panel on cultural appropriation at WisCon last year raised issues that were hotly discussed online, and the panel that this forum follows is likely to do the same. This open forum is meant to give you the chance to explore these issues and how they matter to you. Through passionate discussion we can improve our awareness and find the common understanding that lies beneath our disagreements. The open forum will be facilitated by Alan Bostick, who has been practicing Worldwork since 2003. Worldwork is a process-oriented approach to group facilitation and conflict developed by psychologist Arnold Mindell (author of Sitting in the Fire and The Deep Democracy of Open Forums) and collaborators. Attendees are strongly urged to also attend the immediately preceding panel discussion on cultural appropriation.

M: Alan Bostick


I was a little skeptical about the "process-oriented approach to group facilitation and conflict," but I thought that Bostick was a good moderator in terms of getting people to say what they meant, and clarifying issues for both the speaker and the group as a whole. I don't feel like he lead the conversation in any direction in particular, but rather helped people to not dissolve into screaming matches.

I was disappointed that so many people left after Part 1, and didn't stay for Part 2. I know it's a Con, people had places to be, and these things happen - but still.

And really, looking at my notes, I didn't take many. I'm sorry. It was just a weird, uncomfortable conversation. I am going to cop out and say that for details on the panel, read [livejournal.com profile] oyceter's excellent write up of Part Two.

I will, however, take the opportunity to write about the one situation that upset me the most. I think I got positioned to dislike the comments made by this particular audience member because they were constantly interrupting others and offering comments that weren't really helpful to the issue at hand. But the one that took the cake was the one that cropped up in the following situation:
A woman who was black said that she and her husband, who is Jewish, have a son. The woman (whose name was Rosalyn, I think; I later attended a reading at midnight, and her prose and plot ideas are amazing!) said that she has told her son that despite his "mixed" background, the world perceives him as a black man; she tells him this so that he will understand why others act toward him the way they do. The audience member told the woman that her son needs to know that he is an individual, should accept himself, and that nothing anyone else thinks of him is important, and that all he can do is be himself.

I guess that sounds great rhetorically (not eloquent, but you get what I mean), except that what you think of yourself is not all that matters. Another audience member instantly brought attention to this fact: that it's great to accept yourself except that it does matter what people identify "black man" with when those people are police officers, etc. Encouraging people of color to just "accept themselves" is extremely unhelpful, in my opinion. I don't think that most people of color have a problem with being a person a color. The problem is that society has a prejudice related to how people look. Racism is an institution, and it does affect daily life in many ways. It affects who gets hired for jobs; it affects who gets arrested and who gets let off on the exact same charges; it affects who people avoid when they're walking down the sidewalk. Racism is real, and closing your eyes and focusing on how much you love yourself, however much that is, doesn't make the racism go away.

I don't know. It was just that comment in particular that made me think "WTF" the most.

Recommended Reading
"Writing the Other" - Nisi Shawl
The Color of Water
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - Peggy McIntosh
How Not to be Insane When Accused of Racism (A Guide for White People)
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)
Time has elapsed; Things have happened
Whoa. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of events. Friday was the last day of classes, which could be sad if I wasn't so concerned about my final projects. Almost immediately after class, I went over to Bleakhouse Books, a book publishing company at which I'll be an intern on weekdays when I'm not working full days at the Capitol. From what I can glean, they publish mostly mysteries and dark crime fiction. This article explains why I find them badass. They were uninterested in my resume, gave me books to read (and keep? I'm not sure yet), and are located in a part of town that I haven't yet explored, but is still within walking distance of the Capitol. Needless to say, I am very excited.

So. That's obviously amazing. I think it's really cool that I'll enjoy both my jobs and my co-workers this summer, and believe in what I'm doing all the time, which definitely provides a stark contrast to last summer.

Last night was the end-of-the-year party for The Daily Cardinal staff. I'm sad to have to be saying goodbye to my fellow copy editors, although I never really got too close to anyone else there, aside from Eunice, who I already knew. I might be back copy editing one night per week next year, but I don't know for sure yet. I'll see what happens. It was an okay party, so far as those go, although I didn't say too long.

Yesterday, I spent all day finishing up my Anne Frank paper, and now all that's left is some editing and polishing for today. Now I can move on to the three classes I have left. If anyone is going to be interested in reading over a "feminism in sci-fi/fantasy" paper, let me know, because I'll be working on one later in the week.

I did grant myself small bouts of reprieve by going out for dinner at Vientiane Palace with friends and Antoine, and later browsing through Borders with Antoine.

Linkspam (Random)
Someone decided to create their own Sephiroth/Aeris dating scenario using the Cloud Date Scene in Final Fantasy VII. So funny! Probably only if you've played the game, though. Yes, I am an elitist geek.

Shakespeare is getting turned into manga. Awesome? It could be awesome. That Romeo and Juliet image looks pretty lame, though. Romeo and Juliet could be so badass - at least Gonzo is doing a good job.

I overheard two people talking a few days ago. One, a white male from northern Wisconsin, was pontificating about how the United States was the best country in the world. The people around him were politely listening until one person finally asked him why. He listed a couple over-broad reasons, and ended with, "Here, it doesn't matter what you look like. Everyone is treated the same." A previous listener-only to the conversation, who happened to be a black male, interjected:
"Are you serious?" The white male smiled nervously and said yes, at least up here "in the North," if not in Louisiana or Texas, and at that point a nearby conversation that had already started spilled over into theirs, so they just dropped the conversation without resolving anything.

I'm often surprised when people assume that racism is something that only occurs in the South of the United States, or confined only to areas in which slavery used to occur. In my experience, a lot of people in Wisconsin (in areas that aren't Milwaukee) believe this - that racism is "over," and never bother to realize that their entire school is full of white people and a sizable percentage of Asian people, but no black people, no Latinos. Being racist is about seeing black people or Latino people walking on the sidewalk and assuming you're in a "bad neighborhood." It's assuming that someone who is Asian can't speak English. Being racist doesn't always happen because a person intends it to, or because a person is full of hatred, or even because people realize that they have misconceptions in their head, but because somehow, society has trained us to be that way, even though we don't need to be.

I have a few relatives who are racist in a conscious way, and it disgusts me. It makes me want to shake them and scream at them until they "understand." It's scary when people think that racism is "over," or that it only happens in far-away places that are hundreds of miles away. I really hope that our generation can be the one to start having real compassion and a real understanding of the implications of history on every aspect of the present and how society orders itself and treats its members, and how to build a better future.


laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, Reina holding Kumiko's face w/one hand, faces close enough to almost touch. (Default)

August 2017

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