skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
Throughout high school he did the usual ghettonerd things: he collected comic books, he played role-playing games, he worked at a hardware store to save money for an outdated Apple IIe. He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school. He read Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman novels (his favorite character was, of course, Raistlin) and became an early devotee of the End of the World. He devoured every book he could find that dealt with the End Times, from John Christopher’s “Empty World” to Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth.”

From the short story The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which became a novel that won the Pulitzer prize.

So, comfortably racist sf & f genre? Take your genre authenticity and shove it. When we do us, when fangirls and fanboys write our chromatic realities, when we verb noire, we rise above you and garner awards that you couldn't dream of in your sf & f ghetto. You don't even need to recognize. Because those that have made you outcasts on account of your fidelity to genre? You've elided yourself. When Mike Chabon is given geek cred and folk like PAD are laughed at by other white writers who are publishing in the New Yorker and any Norton Anthology of choice? You've erased yourself from the conversation. When other scions of other racist institutions see us writing/creating/speaking our truths to power? And when we rock hard at it, they prefer to call us 'magical realists' or 'psychic storytellers' or award winning geniuses or whatever, and our books have ghosts, and tech, and monsters (that aren't based on us, though they are sometimes based on the likes of you). White people that don't consider you colleagues award us with Litcrit honors and this after those of us who write like such outsell you. When it comes down to is that amongst the fanboy and fangirl hordes, there are those who become writers within the genre, but outside of 'dom: what is often said of genre names that do come up in conversation is something not unlike, "Will who?"

ETA: A nerd. Not necessarily from the ghetto.
skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
Setup: The original version of Nisay garnered some criticism.

[ profile] darlas_mom asked: "From genocide to celebrity assfucking in ten easy steps? WTF?! How could anyone think that could possibly be okay?!"

I came back with the following:

It's lifeaffirming. The people that live there are poor but happy even though they have much less than the fabulous young lovers.

"We're a couple of rich white guys and we're just on vacation and more in touch with our humanity than ever before." Cue sunset.

Maybe they'll adopt a smiling child and learn more about love and laughter as the child is more in touch with life, nature, and What's Really Important than kids back home.
skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
This time with straight-up disrespect.

"Hey, I feel left out. Maybe I've got a reason?" Is not an attack.

But I guess as far as SOME people are concerned, if you're not a member of a certain club, you should just be grateful if you're allowed to pass. Maybe.

I mean, am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? What do I think I'm seeing? Variations on, "Shut up, how dare you bring your religion/self/identity/agendas into fandom. Who do you think you are?"

ETA: Don we now our flameproof armor: one fan's perspective on the discussions regarding [ profile] mamadeb's post.
skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
They can be problematic.

Someone was looking for ways to write about African Americans without giving offense. I don't know if they got what they wanted.

I commented that something I read came across as fetishistic to me. I'll note my replies as, still, my comment notification isn't working properly and I don't wish to lose this. As, I think, well, it's worth thinking on more. And also, just in case I get banned, or my comments deleted, I wanna have them around to think on.

[ profile] logophilos wrote:
Well this is the difficulty, isn't it. To me and to sparkindarkness it sounds erotic - to you and to witchwillow it sounds objectifying. That difference in perception is what leads to offence.

I can understand the offensiveness of his initial theoretical descriptions, and he's realised the problem with that too. But what in his description of his real lover is the problem? If he's saying he found the perfection of the skin of that particular guy beautiful, why is that fetishistic? How can a white lover describe a black lover without getting into that level of detail?

I'm really confused by this, and would appreciate the clarification.

I wrote:

That difference in perception is what leads to offence.

Perhaps that is true. I neither feel nor think that differences in perception are what lead to offense. With that in mind, I won't agree with your statement that 'difference in perception is what leads to offence." In my pov, fetishes are intensely problematic.

But what in his description of his real lover is the problem?

Perhaps you think it wrong of me to bring up that I thought the description of a rl lover fetishistic if I'm not prepared to provide something other than my opinion?"

I'm really confused by this, and would appreciate the clarification.

In my opinion, what you ask is more than I'm willing to give at this point. In the history of literature, this is a topic that's received much attention if little to no agreement. I'm not so sure that I'm equipped to clarify something for you without knowing what you've read, what you've been reading, and what you've been writing. Additionally, I don't think I can relieve your confusion in 800 words or less. At least, not without taking time away from making sure that my own head is on straight in regards to writing people even if the characters and people I write about don't always have their heads together in regards to ethnicity, race, and interpersonal relationships.

I did eventually respond to the person who wrote the passage I found problematic:

It read to me as as a fetishized conflation of skin and color. In particular:

No redness or mottling or speckling or all the other multi-hued chaos that happens on pale skin -

See, that sort of thing? Shear liquid perfection has been observed in pale skin. There are fair people, some of them white people, that have flawless, even, perfect skin. I've seen it myself and going by things I've read, while uncommon, it's something that has, in the past, been successfully cultivated.

I read this description to be a false polarization in regards to the quality of skin of one black man and all other people who could be described as unblemished and pure. In fact, the one person I had in mind cured me right quick of thinking that unblemished, 'alabaster' skin was ugly. It was astonishingly beautiful. And once I noticed that in her, I learned to see that while rare, it exists, and has existed. It's only fallen out of fashion.

That said, one black man of gorgeous, unblemished, perfect skin does not support the idea that only black people can have gorgeous, unblemished, perfect skin. Perhaps that is true in your experience. But to universalize that experience from one lover? That's skewed. And again, some black people? Have blemished skin that is prone to mottling, speckling, freckling, and about all the other things white skin does. It read as too much. I'm willing to accept that a person has unblemished skin. I can't accept that all pale people have blemished skin.

Eventually, a friend wrote a rant prompted by the original post on 'how do I write without giving offense'. It's a good rant, I think.

ETA: From willow unpleased with the modding/silencing in the op too.
skywardprodigal: a cloudy and bright blue sky (blue skies)
...sometimes unexamined biases get the better of an author. While that may not mean much to some readers, it can annoy and offend others. As it is, variations of "Shut up" and "Go find something important to be bothered about" and "Who can win? You people either complain that no one's writing characters of color, but when someone writes them, you jump on them for not doing it right" appear.

Anyway, I'm reposting this with permission from [ profile] coniraya who originally posted this in their lj:

"So remember that whole bru-ha-ha in my journal over an SGA AU community and the brown folk and women being given lesser jobs that they deserved as comparatively to the white folk. Well some wrote a story (different AU same problem, no Teyla and everyone else has a high-powered job except for Barista!Ronon) and a friend made a comment (which was right on in my opinion) then three people jumped on her tail. She asked me for help and I went over and commented but I feel like it might turn crazy. So this is kind of a call for anyone willing to provide a little back-up. It hasn't jumped off yet but I have a feeling it might. Have a look."

For the rest of the post, and the ensuing invective, go here.

As for me, I look at it like this: meeting unconscious stupidity with deliberate contempt may not be nice, but I'm tired. Usually, in fandom, I find that I have to be polite and patient in the form of steady, predictable, offense and disrespect when talking about race. Mostly, people who are white, or white-identified, tend to discount the opinion of a person of color when it comes to racism, prejudice, proportion, and offense. And they wonder why "all" the "black" kids are sitting together in the cafeteria.

I mean, what it comes down to is, that you gotta be Ghandi or MLK to play nice by some people's rules, and that's not nice enough, because there are still plenty of people, worldwide and statewide, that have a hate on for them both and that was in regards to life and death issues. So when it comes out in's seen as bitchery or pissing on someone's cornflakes...or being rude. "Too sensitive" is a term that gets thrown out a lot a lot a lot.

Anyway, this post is edited down from what it originally appears like, because the message is more important than my emotional reality. And, apparently, all those arguing on the 'Unconscious bias right there, okay!' side of the discussion don't get heard. Aside from a few polite people, I hate fandom right now.

And now, other people's commentary, which is less angry and quite carefully appears to be outlined according to b/e's 10 rules for discussing race with white/white-identified people:

Livia Penn's (Hypothetically-setting the context without excusing or endorsing flaming)

'zee's take (Pete Wentz v Jason Momoa, "Why is p0rning one the way it is but not when (and if ever) p0rning the other?)

mimesere's take (Watch that anger among other things.)

[ profile] ciderpress' "Could you maybe take a look at what's right there if you got the eyes to see it?")

[ profile] telesilla's ("Bulletpoints to those who love subverting texts.")

[ profile] carlanime's "I’d point out the mote in your eye, but then there’s that chip on my shoulder." (this is the public version)

[ profile] rydra_wong's extensive list of related links (Good list, continually updated list).

[ profile] witchwillow's "Wherein I Pimp My Roommate's Coming Essay Like A Hard Hard Thing"

Re: The SGA Debate (...It's a perspective on this mess.)

[ profile] livapenn's I suspect I'm able, and I choose, to approach racism without the "tone" that bothered so many people because I have the option to be less personally invested in it than many POC. ("If it comes from a white fan with cred, will ya try to get it?")

[ profile] umbo's Meta thoughts (Some Supernatural ideas come in too. And boy, the equating of being attracted to characters of color, and being attracted to fictional incest is damn squicky. DAMN. And people wonder why discussions of race & perceived race in fandom get heated.)

[ profile] witchqueen's She got her ghetto pass the old-fashioned way. She *earned* it. (Zvi's advice on dynamics and 'dogpiling'.)

[ profile] monanotlisa attempts to be rational while riding the line:
One underlying assumption seemed to be that we're all beyond that -- that we've created this queer female space of internet fandom and the least offensive realm in existence already. Which doesn't take into consideration that our sandbox is neither uniform nor free-floating. Even within SGA fandom, if only you edge into John/Elizabeth or pretty much any Elizabeth/male territory, you'll find icons with captions like, "John Sheppard is not gay!" and enraged posts on that subject. If you look around within the slash world, you'll find ficathons that focus on killing Elizabeth. I'm not an Elizabeth fan, but I had to swallow pretty hard at seeing that. Is the thought of structurally demoting Ronon and/or Teyla in some fics sometimes in part due to the shade of their skin really so out there?

[ profile] yeloson on the backlash from some discussion at SNR:
Fandom in particular, I think has a couple of things going on with it above and beyond just the "OMG! POC voices!

First, I think it's that fandom has always been about a level of escapism, and a good deal of white escapism involves a world without POC, or POC who go along with the program with a smile. The idea of POC "invading" the fandom and actually participating destroys that fantasy right there.

I think very few people in fandom are actually socially marginalized. Granted, there's always going to be the wackos (believing they're Frodo, in the Matrix, or whatever), but a lot of the people who went crazy over the blackface discussion were actually socially well adjusted in real life- until suddenly I spoke on race.

What I think it is, is that they can't "escape into" fandom away from us. We're part of fandom too, and fandom is online, ergo... This sends a lot of them into a panic (see the backlash to the girl who played Harry Potter's love interest...) Neither the fantasy of a world without us, or a magical online existence without our voices can exist, and they don't know how to live without privilege, so they lash out.
skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)

Saw Earthsea, and, lo, it sucked. Not hard-work for no pay on broken asphalt with the cops coming around the corner, but, it wasn't all that good. That's okay. In tvland, not everybody gets their cookie before it's time to go home.

Anyway, )

ETA: links

[ profile] buggery's rant
[ profile] ide_cyan's Stephen King's Super-Duper Magical Negroes
[ profile] kassia06's say on authorial intent
[ profile] leadensky's Race in Earthsea - is it that big of a deal?
[ profile] minisinoo's Go Nina
[ profile] ninamonkey's Wizard of (White)sea and more...from a Non-white Perspective
[ profile] yonmei's Earthsea bleached

Nalo Hopkinson's Ursula Le Guin on the Earthsea television series
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu's Stephen King's Super-Duper Magical Negroes at Strange Horizons
David Steritt's Face of an Angel
Jack Womack (a sci-fi author that conceives of worst-case-scenarios re: race in America)
So Long Been Dreaming a post-colonial sci-fi reader

blackfolk thread
[ profile] deadbrowalking thread 1 and 2
Earthsea Wank
imdb message board thread
slate message board thread

Originally posted )


skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
a princess of now

October 2010

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