In which I return to talking about Race and Science fiction

Apparently one of my major peeves, Race and Science Fiction (which actually has its own category in this blog that you can look at to get an idea of where I stand on the issue) has surfaced again online in dramatic form. Thanks to Pam for pointing me in the direction of some of the relevant posts (and reminding me that Tobias Bucknell and ABM should have been on my blogroll a long time ago)

So, since this is an area I have some (read: a lot) of interest in and also one I haven’t really talked about for quite a while now, I feel some posts coming on especially now that I have so much reference material to work with.

Before I start though let us establish a few basics.

I am a Black African male with a physics degree who works with computers for a living and grew up spending a decent amount of reading time buried in science fiction and fantasy books as well as comics.

I continue to be a fan to this day

I am a therefore fan of genres which barely have room for people who look like me. Or are anything other than straight, white and male as a matter of fact.

To the extent that they do have room for us, we are frequently caricatures of human beings and not afforded any real depth of character.

It does not matter how much science fiction fans like to pretend like the genre is more liberal than others because of its scope, it isn’t. It definitely has the potential to be however at this point it time it is not there yet by a long shot. Its chances of getting there will also not be helped by wilfully delusional (predominantly white)fans and creators pretending that there is nothing wrong with the genre while an increasing number of fans and creators of colour repeatedly tell them there is. If we’re all saying it then its probably not because we met up in a back room somewhere to synchronize our stories. You might just try applying Occam’s razor and assuming we all say the same things because they are common to our experiences as people who love the genre but feel snubbed by it.

More on this later

Advertisements

6 Comments on “In which I return to talking about Race and Science fiction”

  1. Jackie says:

    Found you by way of Pam Noles’ blog. This part particularly stood out for me:

    If we’re all saying it then its probably not because we met up in a back room somewhere to synchronize our stories.

    Truer words have never been spoken. It’s as though people can’t believe that a) fans of color actually talk to one another (and might even seek each other out) and b) have so many similar stories and experiences. That’s the point where they’ll usually roll out their Special Colored Friend who is there to rebut the seething masses with “Well, this never happened to me!”

    I eagerly look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

    (although, you really can’t tell people about the back room because where will we meet to set our agendas for world domination??)

  2. kwasi says:

    Thanks Jackie,

    You’re right, it is interesting to see how selective people can be about who to believe about stuff like this. Given a choice between the overwhelming majority and that one person of colour that they sort of know(maybe) they will always pick the person who allows them to claim innocence.

    As for the agenda, I’m setting mine right out in the open for everyone to see.

  3. […] Race and Science Fiction It does not matter how much science fiction fans like to pretend like the genre is more liberal than others because of its scope, it isn’t. It definitely has the potential to be however at this point it time it is not there yet by a long shot. Its chances of getting there will also not be helped by wilfully delusional (predominantly white) fans and creators pretending that there is nothing wrong with the genre while an increasing number of fans and creators of colour repeatedly tell them there is. […]

  4. rudith says:

    I agree with you, and I’m glad you put it out there. I’ve been in the thick of so-called debates on race and sci-fi, and the sameness of the ‘you’re imagining the racism’ responses is appalling.

  5. I would like to suggest to minority writers to take greater action. Began by writing a compelling science fiction short story and publishing it to the Internet, much like beginning music artists publish their debut songs. This is one way to introduce yourself to the reading public and get noticed.

  6. Dash says:

    Greetings!

    I recently started a new magazine which aims to increase diversity in speculative fiction (SF, Fantasy, Horror, etc.). Would you like to help promote us?

    We are NOT “Blandy McWhitey White in Blandy McNeighborhood in America or Blandy McMedieval Europe or Blandy McDefaulty Man in any setting anywhere,” as ABM says.

    And we’re proud of it.

    Dash


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s