Holy shirtballs, that was one amazing weekend. Amazing! The Armadillocon convention was one of the best ever. I learned so much!!! A couple of important things happened. Two of the panels I was on: Writing the Other and the Black Panther discussion suffered from a lack of representation. (The Writing the Other panel was all white. The Black Panther discussion had a black moderator but no other representation.) So, here's what we did about it.
1) I spoke to the con chair/person in charge of programming. She was willing to discuss options, but more people of color on either panel wasn't one of them. (They clearly didn't have enough writers of color to spread around. Note to self: next item on Feminist SF Agenda.)
2) After consulting friends who happen to be black, I decided that maybe the panel did need to be all white. See, PoCs already got the memo. They live the freaking memo. They have a PhD in the memo. It's the white, straight, cis part of the classroom that needs to have the discussion. What inspired this thought was the following video.
That so reminded me of the student in the back of the class who had been asleep during most of the school session and suddenly woke up because they learned something. They're so damned excited to have finally learned anything that they explain the thing they learned about Addition and Subtraction in great detail. Meanwhile the whole rest of the class has moved on to Trigonometry. Hence a whole lot of, "That's nice. Thank you for sharing, dumbass." looks.
So, Marshall opened the panel with "You may have noticed this panel is full of White People. We're the ones who need this discussion." And I said, "Welcome to Remedial School, y'all. Anyone not White, CIS, and Straight, you are welcome to stay. But you don't need this talk. You live this shit. You have a PhD in it." And off we went to have a really great talk. At one point, someone on the panel brought up discomfort. I said, "Here's the deal: this is an uncomfortable discussion. It needs to be uncomfortable." We talked about White Fragility too! Old White CIS dude on front row starts grumbling. "No. We need to be comfortable. Or no one talks." I turned on him and said, "If you're comfortable, that's a sign you're not doing the work. This isn't about your comfort. It's about other people's comfort." Guess what? He even stayed to listen to the rest.
Similar things happened on the Black Panther panel. (I offered to moderate, but Trakena decided she wanted to do it. I told her I had her back no matter what she wanted to do.) The white CIS men on the panel were lovely. They shut up when Trakena talked.
The whole rest of the weekend was like that. It was so powerful. I received AMAZING feedback during my reading too.
I have hope for humanity, y'all. I really do.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.