Category Archives: sexism

Revisiting the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program & Safety

Now I still fully support the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program (WBEOU) and am not turning in Y-Chromosome Reserve card but I was remiss in not analyzing the intersections in this program and how they could affect me if it were not women run and focused and how it can still affect me even being women run and focused.  

Let’s put forth a scenario, now most SF cons are very white. Even at WisCon (which I love, don’t get me wrong) among about 1,000 attendees approx. 50 are People of Color (these are from my own observations not an official number), that’s 5% of the total attendees. So odds are that if I see a woman being followed or bothered by a creepy guy they’ll both be white. Now if I, as a black man of size, approach this situation and try in intervene there are a number of complications that can arise.

#1 The white woman might feel she’s safer with the creepy white man than the large black man

#2 The man could get very confrontational and physical thinking he’s protecting the white woman from a rampaging black man

#3 Others outside the situation could misconstrue what’s happening when they look at it through the eyes of their own prejudices.

All three of these can lead to the authorities being called and exactly how would my story stand up in this situation? When it’s my voice against one or two white people, now I’m not discounting that the woman may stand up for me but I’m not counting on it either. Now I feel this is especially important to bring up regarding WisCon because it’s coming up soon and because there was an incident last year where “Niggers!” was yelled from a passing car as a friend and I walked down the street in Madison.  No othjer passerby on the street acted like they were surprised or angered or that anything unusual had happened (Note: Almost everyone at the Con itself who heard about this though was horrified on our behalf and supportive of our feelings).

This has understandably colored a lot of my perceptions of Madison, WI and makes me even more wary of the possibility of involving the authorities in that area. I have a healthy fear of the police as most POC do considering the relationship between POC and the police and the constant knowledge that any interaction with police could very well lead to a story like the one linked.

Now if it’s a member of WBEOU asks for my support in a situation that’s gotten out of control I’m happy to provide it but I do think we need to keep in mind the safety of everyone involved. And realize that should the authorities become involved (because the harasser could very well make up his own story and involve the police himself) that women’s complaints to the police in situations of harassment are often written off (and I’ve already talked about the interactions between POC and the police). We have to keep in mind at all times that we are working within a system where doing the right thing can lead to disbelief of your story and punishment from the authorities that are supposed to protect us. The white male harasser is often more “believable” to the authorities because they see themselves in him, and us well were just a bunch of b*tch*s and n*gg*rs.

And this doesn’t even take into account the scenario where the woman being harassed is a WOC. Most WOC can tell you about various instances were the police either hauled them in instead of their harasser or where the police were the harassers themselves.  Like a comedienne once said “Black women when were in trouble we call our cousins instead of the police because you call the police you have a good chance of ending up in jail. You end up in jail and you’re the one who called them!”

Just some things to keep in mind.



Still Recovering… More Feminism and Race & some books

I’m still on very little sleep so excuse any incoherence.

Aaminah, a guest contributor over at Racialicious writes Mocking a Culture, Mocking a Friend a nuanced and in depth response to a Jezebel post that boggles the mind. I’m not a regular reader of Jezebel and the post (linked to in Aaminah’s article) is a really reprehensible set of judgements and stereotypes presented as an interview.

I’ve tried to keep y’all in the know on the recent issues within the Feminist blogosphere regarding the divide (that’s always been there but a lot of younger white feminists seem surprised by) between white and WOC feminist bloggers and the theft and appropriation and dismissal that’s alienated many a WOC from the feminist movement . Now even if you don’t agree with what some WOC bloggers and myself have had to say about the events it seems insensitive and downright stupid to only two weeks later promote Marcotte’s book as Feministe has done. (of course in the comments Amanda steps in to complain about how she’s being unfairly targeted because people want to ruin her career because you know she’s just so important and the hate people have for her for getting a book deal is the issue not that she might have done anything wrong but I digress) the point is that this is exactly one of the problems that WOC have been complaining about from the beginning. By promoting Marcotte’s book so soon after WOC have talked about their anger at Marcotte makes it look like Feministe tacitly approves of her methods. Now I know Feministe is a group blog and Holly actually made a great post on the issue as it was happening but this feels like an erasure of the of WOC feelings and opinions to promote someone who’s been seen as hurtful, damaging and angering and who has triggered an exodus and disavowal of feminism from WOC. It just seems irresponsible of a major feminist blog.

Jill has an update on there now that wasn’t earlier acknowledging these issues and explaining herself and I understand that she supports Marcotte’s book and that’s her choice I’m not judging her on that (though I disagree with the assessment that it’s an important feminist work), the timing is the problem and the way it looks to those who’ve been hurt like it didn’t matter at all, like we’ll have to go through all this again and again because no one wants to learn and Bfp is gone while Marcotte is getting her work promoted on Feministe. We see our voices disappearing and those who contributed to the disappearance being lauded by the white feminist blogosphere yet again. I respect Jill for acknowledging a lot of these issues, explaining her side, apologizing, listening I just wish she had thought about that herself instead of having to have it pointed out to her in the comments.  

Hradzka breaks down some John Ringo books in: books to make my flist’s heads explode: John Ringo some of my friends pointed me to it as a funny breakdown of some really problematic works. It was funny but I’ll admit that I wasn’t able to get more than a few paragraph’s into the breakdown because a lot of the issues hradzka brings up about the book touch on triggers of mine and just realizing this kind of book was popular enough that the series is now coming out in hardcover was raising my blood pressure but I thought some of you might be interested. Make note I’m not judging Hradzka for having these as guilty pleasure books especially as I have some books that I find problematic in some ways but that I read voraciously when they were released *cough*Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy*cough*. We all have those thing we love that we know are not the best or most conscious work but we love anyway, you just have to acknowledge those issues and Hradzka does that very well (from what I read).

Tuesday Quick Post/Rage: Open-Source Boob Project, really? REALLY?!?

Bloodshot eyes and five hours sleep is what I’m running on so another quick post, there will be a return to lively and awake commentary on Thursday when I’m apt to actually be lively and awake.

Okay this will be a mini rage but, SWEET-FUCKIN’-JEBUS! What The Fuck! Open Source Boob Project, are you stupid? No really, are you this stupid?I admit that my interactions with most (not all) straight white men have not been the best, often because they seem completely unaware of their own privilege and quite happy to take advantage of it…but DAMN! This is some privileged BULLSHIT! This is disgusting! This the the illusion of endorsing open sexuality by opening up bodies that aren’t your own for touch! This is a way for you to get your rocks off groping womyn in public and pretending to be deep! This is enforcing the belief that womyn are public property!

Let me say it loud so that it might -might- penetrate your skull:


You don’t get to walk up to a stranger and just ask to touch their body! The question alone is a violation! You talk about how it was consensual and all that mess but can you not see the power dynamic if a womon is going down a hallway and a large group of people ask to touch her breasts! Can you not see any reason she might say yes even though she doesn’t want her body pawed and devalued to an object. I am so disgusted by this that I’m feeling physically nauseous right now. And those added little notes at the bottom do not take away from the peer pressure and male-gaze/female-object dichotomy you set up and validate and approve! Also it is a totally different dynamic for men to be “open-source” to womyn, than the other way around. Just look at the bulk of your post and the way it’s drenched with male privilege and objectification. That bullshit flip-the-script play is not only defensive but stupid and doesn’t take into account any power dynamic at all.

You know what I can’t even say anymore on this, here are some links:

Cynthia who first brought this to my attention.

James Nicoll, the link is here almost entirely for the title of the post which says it all: Welcome to the Harlan Ellison Memorial Personal Boundaries Club

Mswyrr takes him to task here in the comments

Tablesaw breaks down his language and the saturation of the male gaze here

ETA: More Links

springheel_jack’s – open source male assholes: on the bullshit defenses and the ignorance of privilege and power dynamics that go into such things.

kate_nepveu – On asking to touch the breasts of a stranger: on fear, trust and pressure

rachelmanija – A proposal to crush the button-enabled sexual harassment proposal: an action plan should this be going down at a Con you intend to attend

Badberbag has two great posts on this idiocy, a fabulous rant at her livejournal: The Open Source Groper Project and a longer post at Feminist SF – The Blog: The Internets work how they’re supposed to with some links I missed and where she talks about her anger over the use of “open source” in this fashion among other things.

Just ugh, I swear WisCon can not get here fast enough and yes this kind of bullshit is exactly why WisCon has been the only F/SF con I’ve attended.

Monday Dreariness & Links

It is Monday, which is bad enough but it is a Monday where I’ve been up since 4 A.M., after only five hours sleep, so I am understandably cranky and ready to go home. Le Sigh, since that’s not happening for a few hours yet let’s get to some of the interesting things from around the net that I’ve found today.

Karnythia over at The Angry Black Woman has a wonderful post on People of Color and the Politics of Medical Research. The Tuskegee Experiment is only the most well known of the instances POC have been used to further medical knowledge against their will and then the benefits of those experiments used to help Upper Class White Folks. She also mentions Harriet Washington’s book Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, which I’ve heard from vatrious friends is a fantastic resource and completely gruesome to read. I haven’t read it personally because of some of the gruesomeness that’s been described to me by those that read the book but I probably should pick it up soon. She also discusses Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his accusation regarding AIDS. It’s all great stuff, head over there and give it a read.

In the interests of my previous post on White Liberal Feminist Imperialism, I feel remiss in not mentioning the other imperialist moment that’s been occuring in the feminist blogosphere. A blogger by the name of Black Amazon made a post in which she stated “Fuck Seal Press”. For those who don’t know Seal Press is a feminist publisher, and her fuck you was about their ignoring of Women of Color {or near enough} in their publishing. Their response was so entitled and unprofessional that it disgusted almost everyone who read it. Read about the whole thing over at WOC PhD in Why Seal Press is OFF the syllabus. I would link to the actual posts but like WOC Phd I can’t seem to link to them directly.

Over at Feminist SF – The Blog!, the angry black woman in Are We Talking About Gender and Magazines AGAIN? …Yes talks about gender disparities in several top F/SF magazines. She’s analyzed Asimov, Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) and Analog by their Table of Contents so far in 2008. I think, considering the prevaling thoughts on women writing/being interested/excelling in fantasy as opposed science-fiction, that most will be shocked to find out that Asimov has the highest percentage of female writers so far in 2008. She also has yearly percentages for Asimov, Realms of Fantasy (ROF) & F&SF. Make sure to check out the comments as well which are very illuminating.

And last but certainly not least over at The Hathor Legacy, Revenna talks about Nim’s (almost awesome) Island and the issues with race that abound in the movie. Mostly it’s about the action-adventure scenes which she says recall the whole pulp fiction the Other as evil stereotype. You remember from all those pulp novels about the heart of  deepest, darkest Africa and it’s headhunting, cannabalistic evil dark people who’re evil because….um, well…because they’re dark…AND EVIL!



Feminist-SF Blog Posts

I’ve posted to entries to the Feminist-SF Blog in the week.

#1 An older post I thought I had already put up but apparently I was lying to myself. The Fairies Are Traditional. The Humans Not So Much a look at the film, The Spiderwick Chronicles and the gender steretypes used within.

#2 is The Fantasy of Rape: The Use of Rape as a Catalyst on Female Protagonists in SF/F an essay on…well exactly what the title says.

Check ‘em out if you have the time/inclination.

Review – From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain

So a friend lent me her copy of this the second book by Minister Faust, but the first book of his I’ve read. I’ll admit it was hard for me to get into and that wasn’t because the plot wasn’t interesting, or the characters intriguing or the writing dynamic and humorous. Because it was all of those wonderful things. The reason I had such trouble getting into the book is because I hate the narrator, Dr. Brain. Let me explain, it’s a book within a book so that while you’re reading From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain, you’re actually reading one of her self-help books for superheroes. Now she’s designed to be an unreliable narrator (and several characters call her that in the book so it’s not at all hidden) and while I’m usually able to deal with and sometimes like unreliable narrators, the problem with Dr. Brain is the fact that she can’t see anything beyond what she believes to be true. So someone can come up with some compelling issues and stuff and she’ll write it off as a delusion or paranoia and that’s a tactic I’m familiar with. It’s a tactic used all the time when sexism, racism, heterosexism, any oppression is mentioned, it’s the reaction of those with priviliege. I hate it so much that it makes me grind my teeth, but it’s a very effective literary device for Faust to use here, especially with the story he’s trying to tell.

Ultimately I was glad I stuck with the book and it’s cast of characters, some of which riff off of “classic” Golden Age superheroes. Iron Lass – WonderWoman, Flying Squirrel – Batman, Omnipotent Man – Superman, Brotherfly - Spiderman and PowerGrrl & X-man who have no analogues that I can really think of. I don’t read a lot of satire I’ll admit but this just might be the key to changing my mind.

Faust takes all these characters to their ultimate end, the Republican and openly racist Flying Squirrel, the hokey desperate for approval Omnipotent Man, the totally in control and controlling Iron Lass, the shuck and jivin’ Brotherfly living with a secret, the celebutante PowerGrrl and the anti-racist but aversively sexist and homophobic X-man. With these characters he interrogates everything from 2nd wave vs. pseudo-feminism girl-power (not 3rd wave feminism which is a whole other thing), the sexism & homophobia within some African Nationalist movements, drug addiction, parent-child issues, the way the media skews things based on race, governmental corruption (think Iran-Contra) and a whole lot more I don’t want to say for fear of ruining some of the amazing surprises in the book.

I’m not gonna lie it took me to maybe the very last pages of the book to really get what was being emulated and deconstructed but that could just be me being slow. When I did get the understanding though the whole book took on a new edge and I liked it much more than I thought I would. It’s about problems being ignored, people turning on each other, reveling in their privilege while actively ignoring the truth and finally about the way fear can affect us all making us do things we would never normally do and act in ways we find reprehensible. What Faust has created here is a scathing look at the human psyche and the way that super-powered or not we all fall into destructive patterns that can not only fell us but all those around us. Now I sound like Dr. Brain but I’m trying to explain the novel without spoiling anything for y’all. In the end I just recommend you all go pick up a copy.

But I still hate Dr. Eva Brain.

***Comments May Contain Spoilers***


Blog Anti-Torture

Since I just posted yesterday about immigration I decided that I would tie this into the blogging for anti-torture. Because everyone should know that torture is not only a monstrous act that makes us monstrous as a country for condoning it, it’s also a false act. When you torture someone you’re not getting the truth, you’re getting someone in so much pain that they’ll admit to whatever you want them to admit to. It’s an act/tool for those more interested in closing the case and mollifying the public than those who actually want to catch someone whose done something wrong.

Now I’m talking about widening our definition of torture. Everytime we (as in the global community but the West in particular)  turn away a request for sanctuary because we don’t consider being female and hated persecution (America specifically) or being queer and hated persecution (the recent drama in the UK) or being Of Color and hated persecution I(America, again) we are condoning the acts of whatever nation they are trying to escape from, and we are torturers. We are forcing these human beings back to an environment where they are hated, treated horribly and everyday must deal with the fear that they will attract the wrong attention and be killed, that is torture. When we limit immigration from countries going through economic/political troubles but allow mostly white people from the affluent west as many entrants as they please we are a part of torture. Every time we see “ethnic cleansing” (a more sanitized term for the wholesale slaughter of a people) and do nothing, we are a part of torture.

Yes, the physical act of torture is horrendous and flatout evil (and we are committing it everyday in the West) but torture is more than a physical act it’s also an emotional one, it’s filling someone with fear. We in the West talk a good game but when it comes to actually sticking our necks out time and time again we show that we couldn’t care less about what is happening in any place besides our country and even here we only care for certain segments of the population. When we decide to consign someone to a horrible life somewhere else and then profit off how bad that life is (*cough*NAFTA*cough*) we are not just torturers of individual but global torturers profiting off the pain and fear in others and then blocking their attempt to escape that situation.

Realize that by actively doing this or passively accepting this that you are a part of a system that continues to profit off the suffering and pain of those we view as less than (women, People of Color, queer folks, differently abled folks, those of lower socio-economic status, etc.). Acknowledge your part in this and then do what you can to change the world. It can be something as small as writing a blog, writing a letter to your congressperson, taking a day off to participate in a local protest or the larger tasks of taking it upon yourself to organize a protest or create a group dedicated to improving conditions. Everything you do count but if you do nothing, then your just being willfully blind and at that point…well you know exactly what you are.

Female Protagonists & Why I Connect With Them Across Gender Lines

So someone recently commented and called me on the fact that I had said I would elaborate on the statement that I very rarely read stories with male leads and feel more connected to female characters.

Now this wasn’t always the case I can clearly remember being younger and reading a whole lot of F/SF without regard to what gender the lead character was. As I got older (10-12) I started to find that the books that had male leads started to not satisfy me in the same way that the ones with female leads did. I connected more with the female characters, was more invested in their journey, cared about their trials and tribulations in a way that I didn’t when it came to the male leads.

This is also around the age that I started to become more aware, mostly subconsciously, that being African-American separated me from most of my friends in a really profound way. The large majority of my friends were white and a lot of that had to do with where I went to school (Private School, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, Chino Hills), not to say there weren’t people of color or that I wasn’t friends with them but the majority of my friends were white. I felt isolated a lot throughout high school and didn’t really know why consciously except that I saw that some teachers treated differently, some people were colder to me, I was ignored sometimes compared to the way my white friends were treated.

I felt that I needed to be on guard a lot, that I was alone. Now this is often the the storyline of a lot of F/SF: the loner that is outcast for some reason and might be more than she seems. Yes, it’s true of male characters as well but I felt the deep kinship for the female characters because often in that storyline it was their gender that was hated: something they were born into, something they couldn’t change/alter and just had to deal with. The normal resolution of such a storyline is the protagonist finding their own way to accept themselves and yet still be accepted by society in some way. But at the end of the story the women were still women, it was nothing they could change and they often had to prove themselves over and over, sometimes to the same person. It was something I could relate to.

Often with the male protags, the story ended, they got the girl and everyone accepted the magic/mutation/choice that had made them an outcast before. With female protags it was like I could see that the fight wasn’t over, that they would continue fighting for respect and acceptance the rest of their lives and that’s something I can really connect with.

This is not to say that all People of Color feel this way, or should feel this way but this was where my experience led me. And the more I read of female protags the more I wanted to, the more I connected with them, the more the ideas of feminism became entrenched in me. At the time I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as POC Sci-Fi and I don’t know if that would have changed my perceptions or politics, it’s something I can never really answer. Now with my feminist politics and my years long connection with female characters my reading is almost exclusively female protagonists. Although if something is amazing or transgressive or if there is a good population of female characters that aren’t caricatures then I’ll read a male character but that’s a rare thing. I mean there are always exceptions.

It’s very cyclical, the more I connected with female characters the more I liked them and the more I wanted to connect with them. It also influenced my feminist leanings and the more I became a feminist, the more I started reading works by Barbara Smith, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, bell hooks, etc.As I read these books my understanding of gender (and race w/ some) deepened and the more I was angry at the books with male leads for often simply tweaking a real life sexist stereotype and making that a character for the protag to fight/fall in love with/etc.

And it’s beyond books at this point if there’s not a reasonably strong female presence in film/tv I don’t connect with the story as well and it can get boring pretty quick. Although there is much more leeway with film/tv than with books there does usually need to be at least some female presence for me to become engrossed or connected with the story.

So yes , that is my reasoning. I don’t know if it’s completely coherent but that’s why 95 – 99% of the stuff I read has female leads. I find their struggles more realistic, I find their reactions more believable and I simply find them more interesting.


Just spent the morning doing laundry because tomorrow I’m flying down to Southern California to visit family. I will be in the sweltering heat of SoCal for 5 days. Pray for me. My sickness has definitely thrown off my reading plan so I’m taking four books with me to read/ hopefully finish while down there.

1. Mindscape – Andrea Hairston: I’m about 100 pages in and while in the beginning I was confused because some hings were unexplained I’m now really starting to get a feel for this book. I’m getting sucked into the story and loving it.

2. killing rage – bell hooks: I got halfway through this book before school got in the way so hopefully I can finally finish it. I love what I’ve read so far.

3. The Orphan’s Tales; In The Night Garden by Catherynne M. Valente: Comes greatly recommended by Jackie so it’s been moved up the tentative reading list in my head.

4. The Truth That Never Hurts; Writings on Race, Gender and Freedom by Barbara Smith: I’ve heard a lot about Barbara but never read her stuff so I’m duly excited.

I will also be thinking about my premiere post on the FeministSF The Blog, which will be about the Sign of The Zodiac novels by Vicki Pettersson, while I’m down in SoCal. I’ve got a preliminary outline of the five major issues I want to talk about so hopefully I’ll have to time to build on those and think about them when I’m not reconnecting with family.

In other news I submitted a story to a forthcoming anthology. Two of my wonderful friends Cinda & Jackie went over it before hand and told me it didn’t suck, so YAY! Other than that I have 3 short stories I want to work on and my first novel which is still in the research stages but I hope to start writing by the beginning of July.

Also need to add two books to my summer reading list. Dhalgren & Dune were both books I picked up at a very young age (about 12, 13), tried to read and then decided I was too young to understand. I think I might be old enough now, or at least I hope so.

WisCon 31 Recalled 3/4: Is This Level Of Exhaustion Normal?

Again, If I get any names or facts wrong, feel free to let me know. I’ve only got my own faulty memory to rely on here.

The day started not with a bang but with a whimper as I climbed out of bed slowly and prepared myself for my second panel of the weekend. I wandered down to the Green Room for some tea and then headed over to the meeting room. On the way I ran into a bunch of the FeministSF Blog bloggers and talked with them for a bit.

There were a few people in the room and one of my fellow panelists, K. Joyce Tsai. I knew Joyce from online but had never really met her in person before this Con (we had talked the previous night outside the parties & at the Whither Hero(in)es panel on Friday night.) so we talked a little in our bleary, sleepy states. In came Doselle Young, in his atheist t-shirt and furry slippers and the first words out of his mouth: “I’m not the moderator, am I?”
Joyce & I: un-huh
Doselle: Damn, I don’t want to be a moderator, let’s just run this anarchy style.
Me: Fine by me
Unfortunately for my inner anarchist, but luckily for the audience, Janice Ellen Young was also on the panel and took on the role of moderator.

What These People Need Is A Honky!
- Joyce had a list of films that meet this trope (I will find the list and post it in the WisCon Addendum post on Tues. or Weds.)
- Leah (in the audience) brought up the white female teacher savior trope and I told them about the skit “Nice White Lady” from MadTV.
- I brought up Tamora Pierce’s Trickster duology, which I do love but has way too much: “Oh we couldn’t have done this without you, young white spy!”
- Doselle brought up the movie Mimic(?) and the fact that not only does the black man sacrifice himself for the white main character (a staple in these types of films) but he goes to his death SINGING! Doselle said he was afraid to look down and see that his popcorn had been changed to watermelon.
- Of course we brought up “Dancing with The Last Samurai of Heaven.”
- Joyce brought up the film Cry Freedom and the lack of black characters (speaking ones in particular) in the second half.
- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Jar-Jar, the evil traders with Asian accents & the evil merchant/slave-owner with a Jewish accent. (It should be noted that when I say accents I mean stereotypical racist portrayals of accents)
- Johanna (from the audience) told us the Ewoks actually speak Tagalog a lot. “Yes, the little brown bears speak the language of the ‘little brown people’!”
That hurt me…a lot.
- I brought up the Wounded Knee adaptation and the bullshit of the added part-white character. Doselle had to take a moment.
- Someone brought up the little coda always at the end of the film, “This is still a problem in…”. Which I brought up is mostly for a white audience. It’s like ‘Oh there’s still racism in America? Yeah I’m black I already knew that shit.’ This makes it very obvious who the films are made for and it ain’t PoC.
- Joyce brought up Shogun & the Empire book series by Feist & Wurts.
- The fact that a large majority of interracial relationships are white man/woman of color. That interracial is hardly ever interpreted as PoC/PoC.
- I said I have no respect for those (like Mariah Carey) who actively hide their heritage only to admit to it later to cash in on the trend.
- The fact that many white people view Denzel as “the Good Negro” in that he is safe and they can identify with him as opposed to say Djimon Hounsou. (Note: I don’t view Denzel this way but it is why for a long time he dominated any roles that needed a black man; we’re just starting to see the end of this)
- Also that Denzel, Avery Brooks, Eric LaSalle all had/have enough power to alter their character, whereas most PoC in Hollywood do not. That this is why their characters often turn out more realized than other PoC characters.
- The Pam Noles blog post about white men dominating hollywood, I compared it to the coda at the end of the films. Is there any PoC who did not know this was still the case?

After the panel it was discovered that all the panelists were from California. Just an oddity no real point to the fact.

We all talked for a while then Jackie & I headed out for lunch. I think we went to the Noodle place again (we went there about 3 times and I always ordered the Mac & Cheese. We were in Wisconsin it would have felt like a betrayal not to sample their delicious cheeses!) I can’t recall if this should have gone in Sat.’s report but I’m putting it here. Jackie and I entered our room to find a plate of freshly made chocolate-covered strawberries & 2 glasses of Sangria. Our friend Kit from back home had heard about the bad thing that had happened to us that first day. She called the hotel and had them send up the treats with a nice little card. It was a wonderful surprise. I have great friends.

Then over to my next panel:
Colonialism…In…Space! (which I told everyone had to be read the way it was written.)
Panelists were: Me!, Victoria McManus, Jane Acheson (who has a great post here), Sara Brodzinsky & James A. Trimarco.
So I am gonna say that this was the panel I was most worried about because I felt I was going to be the only (or only visible) PoC on the panel and I was right. I wouldn’t have even been on the panel had Liz Henry not dropped out. I took Liz’s spot which I think is a very good thing. A panel on Colonialism with no PoC there would have felt weird, not because white people can’t talk about colonialism but they’re drawing parallels to the (mostly) white colonization of brown folks. If we’re going to discuss that I felt the panel should have been a little more mixed. When we are discussing Colonialism…In…Space! in comparison with first contact scenarios…it was just felt odd not have more PoC on the panel. Especially since colonialism in America is not over, it happens everyday.

I digress, the bottom line being it was uncomfortable being the only PoC there, though I rather be uncomfortable than there be a panel on colonialism with no PoC. When we were introducing ourselves I struggled with if I should bring it up. Y’know point out the elephant in the room. Instead I just brought up the fact that I identify as a colonized person in America, which I do. Allison, who was in the audience, later told me that I should have brought it up, that she expected the moderator to and truthfully so did I.

The panel did go well, though I think my uncomfortableness with the situation made me dominate the conversation more than I usually would.
- I brought up BSG and them being the colonized people at which point Jane said one of my favoritest quotes from the Con “It’s still pretty white people oppressing pretty white people.” Which is very true. I mentioned that I thought it was revolutionary in the way that it forced most of the audience to code with an oppressed and colonized people. A rarity to be sure.
- There were some great books and movies brought up but I never take notes so they are lost to the winds of time.
- I brought up Nalo’s Brown Girl In The Ring as a very visceral moment of colonialism. The Minister needs a new heart and it is ripped from the body of the oppressed. This was in a response to a question about books and colonialism that I can’t quite recall.
- Jane brought up the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein and spoiled it a bit but I still want to read the series. I vaguely recall reading the first book years ago. Anyway she had some great examples on why the land itself is a colonizer along with the people.
- Victoria mostly took the silent moderator approach, just there to keep things on track.
- James had some great books he listed but as I said no notes.
- We also brought up the fact that the story most used in books is the big bad colonizer comes in to destroy someone. Then one of the colonizers lives among “the people” and learns they’re fabulous. Then he attempts to save them from the colonizer. This also ties in to the “What These People Need Is A Honky.” panel
- One book suggested that I do remember and could not find during the Con was So Long Been Dreaming a collection of sci-fi stories focusing on post-colonialism. I need to pick that up.
(There will probably be a post later about how my identification as a colonized person affects my writing because after Jane wrote about it I started to think about it a lot.)

Then I was off to: The Author’s Blog: Does It Help? Does It Hurt?
Panel: Lori Devoti, K. Tempest Bradford & Michael Mornard
This was a good panel with a whole lot of audience interaction. I asked questions about reviewing books on your blog and things of that nature. The advice given which I’m going to stick to is when critiquing work you have to have a reasonable critique. You can’t say “This book is stupid and so is the author!” but instead have things about the book that you disliked and point them out and your reason for disliking them which I think I’ve mostly stuck to. In other words don’t get personal, although that’s inevitable to a point, try and stay distanced.
Lively panel and lot of laughter. Points I remember:
- Once you put something online, it’s there forever in some form. Think before you post.
- People are reading your blog, even if their are no comments. Think before you snark, under your real name about people you need to interact with (I had to add the qualifier because I love snark and don’t want it to go away).
- Some authors use the blog to stay connected with fans and make them feel involved in the process.

I stayed in the same room because Candra & Allison were giving their paper presentation: Inherited Traits – Race, Gender, and Intertextuality in Heroes.
Unfortunately due to technical difficulties they started late so we didn’t get the whole paper but the 75% of it we got was great. They had clips to illustrate their points and brought up a lot of things I hadn’t seen because I stopped watching. I only had to leave the room once, when they showed the attempted rape of Claire, because that’s way too much for me to deal with. (In case I haven’t mentioned this elsewhere in the blog I cannot deal with sexualized violence, it makes my stomach turn. It’s something I don’t like to read or watch. In fiction rape is often played as titillating or motivating and to see this horrible base act made into something sexual for the audience’s male gaze is just disgusting. There’s a whole post here for later so I’ll stop now.)
Despite several attempted derailments by random men in the audience I do think thiswent very well. Although it did take me a little bit to realize exactly what intertextuality is because in my film class we always called it extra-diagetic information. Luckily I cottoned on but even before I did I enjoyed the things brought up. I especially enjoyed their discussion of the death of Simone and how the blame is placed only on Isaac (even though he was right!). Yeah, I could go on about this for a while but let’s move on…

We (Jackie, Candra, Allison, a bunch of people whose names I don’t remember or never knew & I) went to dinner at this burger place. The conversation turned to films that involve diversity of all types.

Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and then the GoH (Guest of Honor) speeches. Unfortunately while the spirit was willing the flesh was exhausted. Jackie attempted to wake me from my nap. I mumbled something about leaving me behind and went back to sleep. I woke up in time to start ironing my shirt for the fancy dress party. Jackie walked in to find me ironing while watching Flavor of Love: Charm School (or whatever it’s called). Give me a break, the hotel had limited cable! It was a good episode too, the one where Hottie hides two of the girls dresses to fluster them before a competition, where Andrew Firestone from The Bachelor interviewed them (no, I couldn’t make this shit up!).

Anyway we headed upstairs to one of the parties but it was crowded, stuffy and hot. Also we’d worked the parties the last two nights in a row. So we headed downstairs to the bar and drank until last call (which is really early in the hotel, 10:30p.m.) then up to Candra & Allison’s room. We just hung out chatting for a couple of hours. Then Jackie & I headed down to our own room and passed out.

Next: WisCon 31 Recalled 4/4: What do you mean it’s over?!? No, I won’t return to the real world! Nooooooooooo!