Feminist Monday, August 27
I've been away from the blog for a bit. If you checked the dates along the right of your screen, you'll already know why. Sometimes it's just too hard to keep up with the blog and everything that's going on, travel wise. I'm only human, after all. That said, I'm back to my regularly scheduled schedule until the chaos of the holidays thrash my sense of time into nonexistence for a while. (I know myself pretty well at this point. Heh.)
There have been a number of new things crop up in my life of late--all of them good to great. I'm excited. I'm also swamped by multiple projects. This is excellent. I like to have more than one thing going on. It motivates me to move faster than I would if I didn't. That said, I've been thinking a lot lately about being a white writer who wants to incorporate inclusivity and marginalized representation in their work. That said, A Very Nice Person (Jen Zink of Skiffy and Fanty fame) gave me a cross-stitch piece of the Wiccan Rede. (She went to all the trouble of replicating the entire thing--not just the final eight words.) I don't think I've ever read the entire thing before. One line stands out: "Speak Ye Little, Listen Much". Pair this with the thought that even if one tries not to harm others, there is no knowing for sure that one's actions will never harm anyone. In fact, as flawed human beings, it is highly likely at one time or another we will harm others. The point is to make the effort to the best of your ability. Apologize. This is part of accepting responsibility. You can't learn from a mistake for which you don't accept responsibility. Listen. Remember that whatever has happened, it isn't about you. It's about the person harmed. Keep the focus on them. Don't make it about you. Learn from your mistakes. Change your behavior. Never repeat the same error. Lastly, there is no way one can remove the risks from writing marginalized characters. If there's one thing I learned from writing about Northern Ireland during the Troubles it's that there's always going to be someone who will object for whatever reason--no matter how careful you are. The point is: never give up trying. The work toward change (for inclusivity) within my chosen genre (SF and Fantasy) is far too important to not try at all.
Babies, we gotta be brave. Change is scary. Change is risky. But this is the right thing to do, and damn it, babies, we gotta be brave.
I also wanted to add that I've learned that as a white author, writing marginalized characters into stories is not the end of the work. It's also important to a) remember that there are some stories that are not mine to tell--particularly if those stories involve the trauma marginalized persons endure and b) make space at the table for marginalized writers. This can mean mentoring, paying for or creating a scholarship program to writing workshops, and recommending/reviewing works by writers who happen to be from marginalized groups.
That's what I've learned so far. I'm sure I've much more to learn. And that's all right. None of this work is about being Right™. It's about being a decent, loving, empathetic human being. It's about leaving this world in better shape than when you entered it--no matter how small that change is, because small changes build up into bigger ones. A beach is made of many small grains of sand, after all.
Anyway...let's get to those links you came here for, shall we?
Entertainment/Literary: And for reasons...have this: Who is Tiptree, What is He? (The full text of Robert Silverberg’s infamous introduction to James Tiptree, Jr.’s Warm Worlds and Otherwise). And In Conversation: Kathleen Turner. The actress on righting Elizabeth Taylor’s wrongs, Donald Trump’s “gross” handshake, and the co-star she slapped.
General: Last week (and weekend) was filled with reminders of how awful Toxic Masculinity is for everyone--starting with that shooting in Florida. Then there's the Texas man who shot one woman and was repeatedly released in spite of continuing to shoot more women on the Katy freeway. That one is clearly a hate crime, but we all know it won't be prosecuted as such. On a more upbeat note: NASA PIONEER KATHERINE JOHNSON ATTENDS UNVEILING CEREMONY OF HER OWN STATUE AT ALMA MATER. Also, have this article about two photography exhibits: The Many Faces of Women Who Identify as Witches and The Most Famous Lesbian Photographer You’ve Never Heard of — Until Now. Read this informative article Who Really Owns the ‘Blaccent’? as well as this one WHAT IS RACISM ANYWAY? Add to this: When Feminism Is White Supremacy in Heels. In case you don't know who the Nia referred to in the article is, read this: On The Killing Of Nia Wilson And The Anxiety Of Being A Black Woman. And Homeless black teen hits back at Florida police after they admit to framing him for multiple burglaries. With that in mind, read this Twitter thread. And here's some good news, Federal Judge Declares ‘Policing for Profit’ Unconstitutional. Next, Why Schools Fail To Teach Slavery's 'Hard History'. Grrr. And Christian Law Firm Asks Supreme Court to Allow Workplace Discrimination Against Transgender People. That one isn't just a NO. It's a OH HELL NO.
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is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.