Congratulations go to Tanya Wright, Andie Brock and DeeDee Elle for their wins this year! Congratulations to everyone who submitted, actually. It's no small feat, posting something you've written for public criticism. Particular congrats to the top 50, as well, who not only shared their chapters with the world, but also turned in completed manuscripts, an even bigger feat!
(I am awaiting feedback on my novel. We shall see how that goes. I'm not holding my breath at all. Nope. Not me!)
But now there's a discussion going on in the SF/F fandom world that is relevant to my particular interests, and I'm using my gefletheh* as impetus to finally post.
If you are not a fan of controversy, look away now. You've been warned.
The topic of encouraging and including more PoC -- people of color -- has been brought up in the fandom again. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Much like in movies and television shows, seeing people who look like the person in the mirror can be an amazing thing, particularly when they're not treated as the special unicorn in the room, but Just This Guy, Y'know? (Or Just This Gal, for that matter.)
There have been some logic gaffs lately, some statements made that sort of blow my mind and get my pulse kicking. A member of a mailing list, in part, made this comment regarding PoC in fandom:
"They need to know they'd probably be much more welcome here than they might be elsewhere. (After all, many of us would love to befriend extra terrestrials or anthromorphs.)"
Now. The comment was apologized for and the author probably didn't really meant to compare PoC to extra terrestrials or anthromorphs. Fair enough. It does point to a bigger problem, though.
As demonstrated by the response posted in answer to people reacting negatively to that quote, among other discussion:
"If you can cite any specific examples of a person of minority actually being discriminated against, do tell us. Aside from some hurt feelings, the above quotes damaged no one."
At which point my brain exploded.
As *I* responded (with my spelling and typos corrected):
Because we all know that the only damage done to someone is damage done in real time, real space with direct epithet-and-slur flinging. There must be documented proof that someone stood in front of a door and said, “You shall not pass!” (See what I did there? Har.)
I’m against tokenism too. I don’t want to see PoC invited to cons just so someone can say, hey, we met our “Other” quota. I want to see fans, regardless of anything, invited to attend cons and workshops and whatnot, just like you do, Adrienne. That said, I can guarantee you that “some hurt feelings” being repeatedly “hurt” and then dismissed as no big deal? Will make PoC feel unsafe and excluded and -will- keep them away.
I sure as hell wouldn’t want to pay money to come spend a weekend with people who might insult me, intentionally or not, and then tell me to walk it off if I complain.
So that's my button. Now you know. (And knowing is half the battle...)
(*gefletheh: A word I invented as a high schooler to explain a concept that -has- no adequate word in the English language and can only be conveyed with some hand-flailing and incoherent splutter.)