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RaceFail

Please note, as a fantasy and science fiction writer, I spend a lot of my time writing things that are really Other--intelligent wolves and giant talking stag-headed ponies, for example. Also angels (fallen and otherwise), hyperintelligent supercolloids, virtual winged dinosaurs, and other stuff. So I keep thinking, well, if I can write something that doesn't even have the same senses I do, how hard can it be to write a Jewish former Army Captain from St. Louis?


--Elizabeth E. Bear.


I've been reading RaceFail '09, the huge, sprawling, occasionally venomous debate on race in speculative fiction. The above quote from author Elizabeth E. Bear is one of my favourites, simply because it manages to be so insulting, and so revealing all at once. There's a few out there, so don't let yourself get limited.

Anyhow, I honestly don't have much to say on the whole thing. Some of it I agree with. Some of it I don't. A lot of it I've seen before, both sadly and positively. Mostly, I just wanted to link these two posts about the subject here and here, which provide a huge amount of links, and which you can follow if you've the time and inclincation. I haven't read everything--it is reportedly two months of blogging on the subject, and it'll take me some time if I persist--but there seems to be a lot on whiteness, and there's some drama from named folk, and a few links that are now protected or deleted, if that kind of thing gets you moving.

I have to admit, though, that I really do wish that it hadn't been called RaceFail. Coming into it late, it gave me the impression of a discussion about race that had failed to get anywhere which, even after all the hurt egos and bumps and slaps and screams, is not the case.

(crossposted)

Comments

benpeek
Mar. 13th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
yeah, i remember that. it was probably my fault for just making a throwaway comment in the comments of a blog, and relating to a vagueness. it was all this stuff back then, i guess, but i wasn't really up to it. anyhow, there was no foul--i'd forgotten all about it till then.

but yeah, it is the stuff i engage with in my work and here. it's actually what i consider the centre of my work and i do pretty well with it, most of the time. but that doesn't mean people got to know me, y'know? and, i must admit, sometimes i just do things cause i think its funny and to get a rise out of folk, and this can be missed sometimes but others ;)
ironed_orchid
Mar. 13th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
i must admit, sometimes i just do things cause i think its funny and to get a rise out of folk, and this can be missed sometimes but others ;)

ORLY? I had never noticed :-P

I think that one thing which is inevitable is that when someone posts on these topics of doom with reference to recent debate, the people on their f'list may say something in a "I sort of know you and I can get away with this comment" mode, and then the post gets linked to by others, and people who are participating in the debate but don't have any prior knowledge of the person who wrote the post, let alone their f'list can see things in other ways.

Edited at 2009-03-13 02:53 am (UTC)
benpeek
Mar. 13th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
ORLY? I had never noticed :-P

sometimes it's very subtle, i admit ;)

anyhow, yeah, it's entirey true. the response i got in mamatas's blog was pretty much like that. i don't remember it going too badly, even.