Tag Archives: racism

Collective racial violence in the US

15 Aug

This is a collection of resources on the long and terrible history of racial violence against blacks in the US. Originally a twitter thread, starting here, by Professor Walter D Greason. I have added a couple more links, for specific instances mentioned by other people, as I’ve remembered them.

There is a lot–A LOT–of deeply disturbing imagery in these links and videos. This is what white people have done to black people in this country, without remorse–indeed, feeling morally justified and protected by law–for centuries.

(Note: I’m including some links at the end, regarding racial violence toward other groups)

I will continue to update this as I learn more.

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Traditional publishing, and the risks thereof

26 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia.

I’ve written here, more than once, about genre romance being the single most successful genre in publishing. Not too long ago, genre romance accounted for about 40% of income for traditional publishers.¹

Since the late 70s/early 80s, romance sales have floated other fiction at pretty much all the big houses. To this day, many of the big advance names in so-called literary fiction never earned those advances back–while romance writers of the same caliber routinely do.

Those literary books may earn all the important prizes, and get lots of review space in the big papers, while romance is generally dismissed as pabulum and ‘mommy porn.’

But everyone in publishing knows that the money comes from genre fiction, and that genre romance brings in the lion’s share of the revenue.

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Devastated.

9 Nov

Whatever social progress was made in the last six decades in the USoA?

Pretty much sure to be gone within six months. The Voting Rights Act was gutted, and the next President elect is a misogynist, a xenophobe, a racist, an ignoramus, a compulsive liar, who says things like “I will consult myself first, because I have a very good brain, and I have said things,” with a straight face. But hey, he’s a white cis philanderer who’s proud of how he can grab women’s genitals, because he’s a ‘celebrity.’

The fate of the planet in the face of a US President who believes climate change is a hoax?

Yeah, I should start making plans to move inland from Florida soon.

And I don’t even want to think about what is going to happen to the world’s economy with this…this waste of space plutocrat wannabe and his cadre of self serving ass-kissers in power in the USoA for dog knows how long.

It sure looks like all that ‘post-racial’ society crap was indeed a very thin veneer barely covering hatred.

May the universe have pity on us all.

More on race, reading, writing, and publishing.

22 Aug

Originally posted to the Literature section of MyMedia,
as part of the race in literature thread

Justine Labarlestier, a YA author, has a wonderful essay on Reading While White, about her own evolution, as a white author, on the matter of race. I do hope you follow the link and read the whole thing, but here are a couple of short-ish quotes, to give you an idea:

For years the response to my books—glowing reviews, award nominations, fan letters from People of Colour—supported my belief that I was doing good.

I had read critiques of the white saviour complex but was sure they didn’t apply to me. But one day in early 2009 a black woman blogger wrote a critique of my novel Liar.

Liar has a black teen protagonist. The blogger wrote that the book hurt her, that it was full of painful tropes, and that she would not read anything else I wrote unless it was not about People of Colour because I could not be trusted with the stories of anyone who isn’t white. Further, that she wasn’t going to read any more books with PoC protags by white people because we always get it wrong.

I felt like I’d been punched.

It was the most painful criticism any of my books had ever received and I’ve had reviews call for my books to be burnt and me to be slapped.

I sent the critique to several friends so they could reassure me she was wrong.

Yes, in the face of someone literally stating she had been hurt by the racist tropes in my book, all I wanted was reassurance. I thought my hurt feelings were more important than her actual pain.

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Hey, hey! I got whitemansplained!

10 Aug

(Part of this post originally appeared in the Literature section at MyMedia,
as part of the race in literature thread.
I’ve added further commentary below the cut)

An excellent, if long, follow up, to the Fireside report on SSF and black authors, with some pointed answers to oft asked questions, written by a Black, published author of SSF short stories:

Hi. I’m a small time SFF writer. I’m black. I also submit short stories to paying SFF markets. Most times I’m not successful in selling my stories. A few wonderful times, I am. Do I see lots of stories published in top SFF markets with faces like mine? No. And believe me, I search for them. It’s not the most scientific process: Are the characters black? Do I detect an inference to anything black-ish? Hmm… that author’s name sounds black, lemee google em up right quick. Again, not exactly a science. But it’s what I got. Are the gatekeepers at these SFF markets black? Rarely. At least rare enough that when one or two are, they show up in black SFF spaces to announce with hopeful desperation: “I’m working at so-and-so. Please, please, please submit your stories because the slush is whiter than a Gods of Egypt, Noah, Exodus triple-feature!”

Because if black SFF writers are being underrepresented in short story markets, then SFF as a whole is going to be less representative. Think I’m exagerrating? Okay. Here’s a neat trick: name five black SFF writers off the top of your head that you’ve read or even heard about–whose last names aren’t Butler, Delany, Okorafor or Jemisin. If you struggling, best keep reading.

When black writers are excluded from these markets not only do we lose out on connections and networking, but simple cold hard cash. That’s money that might fund a trip to a con, or to attend a writer’s workshop, or a better laptop/software, or the space and time to write, or rent, or a basic incentive to publish–cuz altruism is noble, but it don’t pay none. Given the long history of wealth exclusion for black people in America, there’s a discomfiting knowledge that under representation in some of these paying SFF markets creates a type of financial inequity that is essentially shuttering black creativity.

(7) Maybe “race” isn’t the only reason your story is rejected. I actually saw someone write this. With words. Thanks for splainin’ how submitting and rejection works Sherlock. No one is saying that race is the sole reason black writers are not being published in mainstream SFF. This seems, in fact, to be a sly way of making the “quality” argument: the universal lament of concern trolls to just about every appeal for diversity, in everything. When I get rejected, and it happens lots, I understand all sorts of factors go into that. Maybe the story doesn’t fit their needs. Maybe it’s not that good. Maybe they’re pretty stocked up on steampunk pirate stories. Issues of race and diversity are just one added factor. I don’t just automatically say “Bet I was rejected because I’m black!” That’s just what you see in wack 1980s and 1990s sitcoms and movies. In real life, black folks go through entire mental quantum field models of self-doubt before even raising the “R” word–if only because we expect to be finger-wagged by a society that almost never ever believes us. When you hear a black person “cry” racism, trust that we done already quadruple-checked our math. But I also understand that “quality” is as arbitrary as anything else.

[b] The burden of change here is on SFF markets not on black writers. I repeat, the burden of change is on SFF markets not black writers. Don’t tell black people to open up their own SFF markets. Don’t say, “well you guys gotta submit more.” If SFF markets want diverse stories, they’re going to have to do more than simply state it and then wait patiently for it to happen. Words and intentions are nice. But without concerted action there’s not going to be much change. SFF markets are going to have to take part in engaged activism to bring in black writers, to increase the submissions of black writers and to publish more black writers. It ain’t gonna happen by osmosis.

Seriously, go read the whole thing–if I could, I would quote the entire thing here, because it addresses all the many explanations and justifications given to exclude Black authors, and pretty much all minorities, from mainstream genres across the board–the same argument can easily be made when talking about romance, mystery, historical fiction…You name it, think about it, and you’ll see just how true this holds for literature in a country that is not homogeneous in its makeup.
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History, HERstory, our story

30 Jul

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)
(added some stuff here, probably barely coherent musings,
that is not appropriate for that forum)

I have many feels about many things right now–among them, the nomination of a white woman for the presidency of the US by a major political party. Hate her, love her, be indifferent to her, the mere fact that she was nominated is breathtaking.

But since talking too much about the candidate herself would immediately veer into verboten territory (though, there is a forum for that), let’s celebrate feminism and race, by checking this twitter trending hashtag:  BlackWomenDidThat.

And lets ponder how few of them we, as a society, are familiar with. How many names of minority women have been erased from history. Their sin? Being female first, being non-white second. (See Lenora Fulani)

Equality has many facets–lets make them all shine.
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Hey, guess what? (race in literature)

27 Jul

(Originally posted to the Literature section at MyMedia)

Yes, I know, why do I keep bringing up uncomfortable topics?

Because they are important.

A while back, on this thread, I talked about the white default in literature, I mentioned that the biggest hurdle to diverse literature is not that people from all backgrounds, experiences, ethnicities, religion, ability, etc., aren’t writing. It is that established publishers routinely reject their work.

In romance, to talk about a genre I am most familiar with, I have seen authors talking about rejections that literally read, “we already have our one black author.” Or, “well, that doesn’t sell, no one can identify with that.” Or, “there really isn’t much of a market for that. Or, “well, we can’t market that,” and so on and so forth.

Or, which is even worse for diverse authors of genre fiction, if and when their books get published, bookstores and libraries will corner them into a section restricted by the author’s ethnicity (or sexual orientation).

Which means, if you are looking for genre romance with black (or Latino, or Filipino, or Indian, etc) protagonists, you will search the romance section–and the books will be hiding in African American studies or some such.

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