Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RaceFail Again

I posted the following at Timmi Duchamp's blog:
I was hoping Timmi would pick up this discussion. Here are a couple of posts I added to Oyceter's Live Journal. I figured once I found out about RaceFail, I should prove that at least one silver-haired, old-time SF writer was paying attention.

(The anti-racist bloggers felt the old-time. established SF readers and writers were being too quiet. Most of us had not yet heard of the controversy.)

I found out about RaceFail this evening, which is one reason I haven't commented before. I've read the comments here, but I am not sure I want to go through all the posts on all the journals. It does not sound pleasant. It also sounds like a good Wiscon topic. I don't know if it's possible to get it onto programming this year. If not, a group discussion in conference or hotel room would be worth doing.

The questions asked here -- where does fandom and the SF community stand on racism and other kinds of prejudice -- what should people who care about these issues do -- would make a good starting point.

If you want a con other than Wiscon, you might consider Diversacon,which happens in the Twin Cities in August. It bills itself as multicultural and multimedia, and it is deliberately affirmative action. GoHs have included Nalo Hopkinson, Sharee Thomas, Andrea Hairston, and the Laotian American poet and horror fan Brian Thao Worra.


I went to my first science fiction convention in 1961. There were 4 or 5 males for every female. Everyone was white. The sf community was as homophobic as the rest of America.

The first fan of color I met was Samuel R. Delany at a New York con sometime in the middle or late 1960s. He had a huge afro and a gold ring in one ear, and he stood out.

The sf community does change, although slowly. It changes because people insist that it change. It's hard work, and I can understand why people might figure they have better uses for their time. But women came into fandom during the late 1960s and 70s and insisted that their issues were important and needed to be addressed. GLBT people did the same a bit later. As the country changes, and more people of color come into the science fiction community, they will have to make the same arguments and have the same fights.

As Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

This is true even of the petty centers of power in fandom.


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