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WTF, F/SF? Learn to listen, k?

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May. 18th, 2009 | 04:02 pm
mood: sad

I've been quiet about Mammothgate (Racefail 09 part deux), partly because it's so easy for me to understand the blindness going on there. I doubt I would have even noticed the assumptions, much less thought of speaking out against them. I just didn't see it either, completely missed the wrongness of handwavingly undoing the existence of all Native Americans for the sake of an interesting story.

Though I have learned that listening is a whole lot better than trying to justify oneself about things that matter like this. The author and defenders didn't think: would they have argued so much if it was a huge anachronism they missed, or a quote from someone 100 years later? Why not shut up and learn, and maybe say Oh shit, I screwed up.

Following a bunch of links I found a fabulous essay by a woman of color writing Science Fiction/Fantasy, Nalo Hopkinson: Looking for clues It's all good, articulate, emotional and inspiring. My favorite bit is this:

... by Samuel R. Delany, which comes from a speech he gave at the Studio Museum of Harlem: "We need visions of the future, and our people need them more than most."

Which is true and right and meaningful but she follows immediately with this:

And yet, that isn't really why I write science fiction and fantasy. It's more like the result, not the reason. Or like the air I'm breathing when I sit down to write.

I hope, very much, we can go on from there.
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from: sheldrake
date: May. 19th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)

Yeah. I actually read the post when it first went up, and managed to completely miss the fact that the author had left out the people. I just thought it sounded like a fun idea. Then I read the first comment, rearead the post and though, "Uh, maybe not..." Admittedly, I was just skim-reading, but it was partly because I wasn't looking for it. Like Jo Walton, probably like the author, I was taken by the idea of a magical pioneer story, and somehow forgot all about the realities behind that story. I'm glad others were more on the ball and brought it up.

Thanks for the link! I read one of NH's books a while back and enjoyed it a lot. :)

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from: msilverstar
date: May. 20th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)

Yeah, I so understand how easy it would be to make that mistake. Well, not that one any more, but one like it. My consciousness has been raised.

I will be looking for NH's books, though not all bloggers write books I love (Neil Gaiman -- too much horror for me).

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