First off: Thank you, Alicia, for asking me to write a guest post. I’m encouraged by your enthusiastic response to the recent interview on the subject of Writing About Race in Science Fiction and Fantasy I conducted with authors David Anthony Durham, Aliette de Bodard, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Ken Liu. I’m also humbled that you’d enquire about my own work.
I’m a little late this week so I’m catching up with the other writers who will be participating in the Youth Symposium at the Auburn Research Library this Saturday, May 5th. The topic is when I was a child, speculative fiction taught me…
I fell in love with scifi and fantasy when I was really young. In fact, one of my first stories that I wrote was a spaceship story about two black children who escape from harsh city life and fly in a cool spaceship to explore the universe. The title was “Lashamn and Zeneco’s Space Adventures.”
We’re almost at the end of our 7-week online Black History Month event. It’s been an exceptional experience. During week six, our topic is all about our favorite Black SF icon. I’ve chosen Octavia Butler. So much as been written about Butler, I don’t know if I can offer a unique perspective but I’ll try.
I’m so excited to say that I attended this year’s OnyxCon in Atlanta. What’s OnyxCon? The short version is that it’s an event that highlights authors, artists, game designers, comics, and websites that support African-American speculative fiction. It’s a small event but the impact is huge.
I am so excited about my upcoming trip to New York. It’s gonna be a fast paced trip but I’m anticipating having so much fun. One of the trip’s highlights will be the FFP Gathering. The theme this year is Superheroes. Last year, I had so much fun dressing up in Steampunk but this superhero costume has been exciting to create. My sister helped me figure out my ensemble. The first thing I did was try and figure out just which superhero I would be…
I do not believe I am a racist. And yet I can make thoughtless comments, be oblivious, be hurtful without realization or intent. Like when I offered a hairdrier to a black friend. Hey, I thought I was being helpful. Forget color-blind. I can be down-right blind.
I don’t classify people by race. Why? I grew up with parents who were from the deep south. They would whisper things like, “well, he’s black…” as if that would explain something. Those comments made me ill. I grew up in Silicon Valley in the middle of the dot com boom. My early jobs were so multi-cultural that to me the world was a rainbow. I tour guided at a museum that drew international tourists and tried to learn phrases in as many languages as I could.
Some authors of Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal stories get race all wrong and the work that they produce is seen as racist. I’m one of those people, though, who hold back on the “R” word until I completely read the entire work. So, when a book came across my desk, I gave pause.
The other day I was having an amazing conversation with one of my best buds. Our conversation, of course, moved to my love of Sci Fi and fantasy. She sort of laughed when she said, “You know, it’s hard to openly say you love Sci Fi, your Black card will get revoked.” We both had a great laugh and then we talked about it seriously. It really can be hard for people of color to admit that they actually love SciFi and fantasy. It’s a shame really.
I’m wondering if this is just something we’re feeling or if others have the same perception. I’ve put together a little poll to see. It doesn’t matter if you’re a person or color or not, go ahead and participate. The question?
Years ago I would have patted my foot in aggravation if someone asked me if I were racist. In college one of my white roommates, told me that I was racist because I ate dinner with other Black students. Give a sister a break. I just thought that it was plain old foolishness. I used to go into this huge HUGE diatribe about how Black people couldn’t be racist because they were disempowered in government, politics, and business. And furthermore, that because we were disenfranchised, the most I could be was prejudicial because being prejudiced was an individual event. Woa! That’s a mouthful.
One of the worse fights I’ve had was with my uncle who was a few years older than me. It wasn’t just a battle of words but a knock down drag out physical fight with me clutching hold to my weird books and him trying to pry them out of my skinny little hands. I think he was trying to save me. Some 20 years later; I get it. He didn’t want anyone to think that his quirky niece was weird.