The State of Black Sci-Fi 2012: Why is it Important to Show Race, Culture, Minority Politics or Ethnicity in Sci-Fi?

The State of Black Sci-Fi 2012: Why is it Important to Show Race, Culture, Minority Politics or Ethnicity in Sci-Fi?

Woohoo! I’m excited that we’re at Day 3 in our discussion of Black Science Fiction. Don’t forget about the incredible giveaways coming up February 6th. This week we’re discussing if it’s important to show race, culture, minority politics, or ethnicity in Sci-Fi. K. Let's talk. 

I remember the day that my grandmother told me that she interviewed (in her youth) for a position at a local retailer but was unable to get the job because she didn’t pass the paper bag test. Yup. That’s right. My grandmother wasn’t lighter than a paper bag and so she couldn’t get that job.

My face twisted up and I was outraged. She, on the other hand, considers the experience to be "water under the bridge." She moved on. Her story, though, changed my life. Is it important to show race in Science Fiction?

Let me ruminate some more. I’ve been fascinated with the discussion about Barrack Obama’s birth certificate. Not for the reasons that others are concerned. I want to know what his race says. Why? In my household, we have three different races listed. Are my son, my husband, and myself the same race? Hmm.

My son is listed as an African-American. I’m listed as Black. My husband, well, he’s listed as Colored. That’s ok. We still love him. At the dinner table, we often ask him what color he chose to be on that day. He comes up with some “colorful” answers. LOL. Is it important to include minority politics in Sci-Fi?

This weekend, I headed out to see Red Tails. I laughed, cried, and triumphed. The Marine in me was all into the battle scenes. I respect those flyboys. I got it. This story was about more than courage. It was about respect, dignity. What I saw, though, was the mindset, rather, the difference in worldviews.

That final battle showed the worldview difference clearly. It never occurred to those Tuskegee Airmen to not show up. In the face of incredible odds, superior technology in jet planes, and the fact that the higher ups didn’t want them there, they persevered. They pushed-on. They wanted the team to win and were willing to release the needs of the individual to save the world. They got the big picture which was steeped in the Afrocentric worldview. Is it important to show race, minority politics, and a different cultural viewpoint?

Hmm. It actually aggravates me to have to answer this question. Like in the movie, how far or how much do minorities have to go in order to be acceptable? It’s not just important, it’s imperative.


Those powerful “what if” words in Sci-Fi allow the author the ability to expound, expand, and create. If we are ever to become one human race, it is imperative to accept and show worlds that are not from a majority mindset. For me, I must share the stories of my grandmother, the politics of my life, and the history of my people in a way that expounds and expands on these experiences.

Already, I have several Sci-Fi story ideas about that paper bag test. What if? You get the picture.

Leave a comment or tweet #blackscifi2012 with my twitter handle @AliciaMcCalla. I’ll be giving away two free copies of Breaking Free on February 6, 2012.

This online Black history month has ended but you can follow the blog hop below:

Day 1: What is the State of Black Sci-Fi 2012?  

Day 2: Why I Love Teen Dystopian Sci-Fi?  

Day 3: Why is it important to show race, class, minority politics, or ethnicity in SciFi? 

Day 4: Giveaways and Upcoming Paranormal Romance from Alicia McCalla

Day 5: I heart Onyx Con!

Day 6: My Tribute to SF Icon Octavia Butler

Day 7: The Grand Finale with a New Short Story from Alicia McCalla


Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event:

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer-- is a Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler's Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world's first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled - Immortal Fantasy.  Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him:

L. M. Davis, Author--began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade.  Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers:  A Shifters Novel will be released this spring.  For more information visit her blog or her website

Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: and

Margaret Fieland, Author-- lives  and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines is available from  Her book, "Relocated," will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy," will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013.  You may visit her website, 


Valjeanne Jeffers, Author -- is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: and 

Thaddeus Howze, Author-- is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: or

Carole McDonnell, Author--She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: or 

Balogun Ojetade, Author—of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: 

Rasheedah Phillips, Author--is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/Sci-Fi novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, 

Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage.  Visit her:  

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of, & Visit him: 

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Alicia McCalla photo credit Dr. Howard McCalla

I’m author Alicia McCalla. Sign-up for my newsletter to get updates, learn about my latest projects and purchase my badass, spunky and smart Black heroines on Merchandise!