Dark Legacies Matter
How the Dark Matter Anthologies Challenge Racial and Gender Stereotypes
by Bridgette Da Silva
and it refers to my interview with Sheree on SH.
Here is an excerpt from her wonderful post:
So my second point is that if an author wants to avoid being in Patricia Wrede’s shoes [of “disappearing” Native Americans], he or she should set out to write for the world, not just for the readership one takes [for] granted (in this case Western white). The world, here, is this diverse place where languages other than English are spoken and people have different skin colors, customs, beliefs and music.
Reading this all I kept thinking was “yes, yes, yes!”
Take This Hammer is a 44min documentary in which James Baldwin toured San Francisco in 1963 and talked about racism. He even predicts a black president.
It’s so wrong, yet I can’t stop laughing! As a former bookseller, it just touches my funny spot. There were days when, I swear, I could have written this rap myself.
The Next Day—
Actually, once I stopped laughing, I could easily see the “Read a Book” video making folks upset. While there are definitely individuals who I would love to scream that song to, it shouldn’t be used to paint an entire group of people, namely my generation and below. I don’t watch BET. So I don’t know the controversy. But if BET is involved, I’m sure that it was politically mishandled. That’s the problem with the internal dialog for black people, because it is so accessible to everyone, the message often gets distorted to the point of being useless and even downright dangerous. (But the animation did make me laugh.)
The New York Review of Science Fiction reprinted Samuel R. Delany’s essay on Racism in Science Fiction. Delany caught most of the blunt stuff is he is a bit bitter he is justifiably so. He and Octavia E. Butler opened the door for new writers like me to walk through and, for that, I am eternally grateful.
Let me reiterate: Racism is a system. As such, it is fueled as much by chance as by hostile intentions and equally the best intentions as well. It is whatever systematically acclimates people, of all colors, to become comfortable with the isolation and segregation of the races, on a visual, social, or economic level—which in turn supports and is supported by socio-economic discrimination. Because it is a system, however, I believe personal guilt is almost never the proper response in such a situation. Certainly, personal guilt will never replace a bit of well-founded systems analysis.