Archive for the 'race' Category



This week is International Blog Against Racism Week. I’m not willing to let it pass without notice, but I also don’t know what to write. And really my thoughts on and analyses of racism are not the ones anyone should be reading. They’re not nuanced, developed, or aware enough; I’m working on that. In the meantime…

I cannot recommend the blogs Racialicious and The Angry Black Woman highly enough. And everyone should be reading brownfemipower’s Flip Flopping Joy!

And here are some links to IBARW posts, and just general brilliant, important things on race and racism I’ve read recently:

This post about cultural appropriation and the word “Hapa” was a worthwhile read in its own right and led me to this heart-wrenching account of racist bullying in middle school.

In response to the publishing industry white-washing of book covers (here’s one example), Coffeeandink is starting the Open Source Book Re-Covery Project, for reader-designed book covers that don’t pretend the protagonists are white. [Thanks to commenter and dear friend TGStoneButch, who pointed me toward both of the previous pieces]

K. Tempest Bradford has a series of pieces up at the Carl Brandon Society blog tracking genre fiction published by people of color. And speaking of the Carl Brandon Society blog, they also responded to a recent dust-up with an open letter about lows we don’t resort to even when we’re arguing.

Here‘s nojojojo’s response to people’s assumptions that she might enjoy being angry all the time, and why she does it when it’s actually no fun at all.

And this is an absolutely brilliant post about the difference in how white and black female characters are written (when the latter are written at all), why Nyota Uhura being single in the original Star Trek was not empowering, and why her having a love interest is important and not a step down for her. (Mild Enterprise spoilers. And mentioning Enterprise, I feel the need to say both that on first viewing it is a fun, engaging movie — much better than I expected — and that, as my friend Natalie points out, on second viewing it is a cheerful, uplifting movie about genocide. Um.)

Go forth. Read about race and racism. Blog against racism. All year.


What I’m Reading: The Salt Roads

I sat down to write this tonight and spent two hours following links in RaceFail09 instead. Oops. But I’m glad I did it, even if it did come directly out of my sleepytime. There’s still a lot of good stuff happening out there, and the best thing I read tonight is Cat Valente’s piece on the power and importance of stories. (Yes, I am seriously author-crushing on Cat Valente right now. And what? I just wish I hadn’t lost my brand new copy of Palimpsest on that otherwise extremely awesome trip to Hartford.) There are also lots more things open in tabs. I will look at them tomorrow. Yes I will.

And speaking of RaceFail09, one of the things it brought to my attention is this LJ challenge to read 50 books by people of color in a year. There’s no way I’m going to read 50 in a year. My adolescent self would be appalled to hear me say it, but with all of the time I spend using my Eee PC on the train and being glued to the computer most of the time that I’m home and awake, there’s no way I’m going to read 50 books total in a year. But reading reviews of books by authors of color led to thinking “Hey, that sounds like something I’d enjoy!” and adding things to my library list, and I am being more conscious about where my attention goes and reading more stuff by people of color. And it is good.

Last week I read Nalo Hopkinson’s The Salt Roads (this part cross-posted to 50books_POC). I’ve been meaning to read Nalo Hopkinson for ages, particularly but not only because every time SF/F authors of color come up in conversation, her name is one of the first mentioned. I borrowed Brown Girl In The Ring from a friend last year and loved it. And even knowing I liked Hopkinson’s writing, The Salt Roads blew me away. Continue reading ‘What I’m Reading: The Salt Roads’


Elsewhere on the Internet

I thought I would have a couple of chances to post while I was away this week — ha! It was a wonderful trip, though. Thoughts on the inaguaration and the aforementioned Bar Mitzvah when I have a chance to write them up, but in the meantime:

Alex Blaze has a great piece up on Bilerico about the religious right’s attempt to frame everything anyone does that offends them as an infringement of their freedom of speech or religion — in short, their attempt to limit others’ freedom of speech on the faulty premise that it violates theirs. I don’t really have anything to add, but he makes some really good points. And I wanted to share my outrage at the way donors to Yes On 8 think they should be able to hide from the natural consequences of their actions (queers and allies not supporting their businesses! Well, yeah, that happens when you donate to have homophobia written into law…).

There’s been a bit of a blow-up in the blogosphere around Elizabeth Bear’s novel Blood and Iron, which I have not read and on which I am not qualified to comment. But that prompted an important conversation about cultural appropriation on The Angry Black Woman. It also prompted this brilliant essay by Deepa D. on writing sf&f as a person of color, and this follow-up for white people who can’t seem to keep their own issues around racism out of POC space. I found all of these posts interesting and very helpful in my mission to become more aware of racism and develop a more nuanced analysis around it, but be careful wading through the comments, which can get pretty offensive.


Libraries are a Queer Issue, or, LGBT Politics Beyond Marriage

Remember all those nationwide rallies last month against Prop 8? I didn’t go to the Philadelphia one because I was at a rally to save the Kingsessing branch of the Free Library from closing. That pretty much sums up my political priorities these days. But this isn’t a case of libraries trumping queer issues or local politics trumping national issues or anything silly like that; rather, I see the fight to save 11 branches of the Philadelphia Free Library from permanent closure as exactly the kind of intersectional issue I’d like to see included in a broader sense of what constitutes “LGBT politics,” which is all too often overshadowed by gay marriage.*
Continue reading ‘Libraries are a Queer Issue, or, LGBT Politics Beyond Marriage’


Race, Bisexuality, and the Rhetoric of the Closet

This New York Times article came in with my Google Alerts this morning, and while it’s just a short article buried in the Metro section, I’m struck by some of the rhetoric it employs when discussing male bisexuality, and specifically bisexuality among men of color.

The headline, “Many Gays Don’t Tell Doctors Their Sexuality, Study Finds,” is actually inaccurate; the study surveyed men who had sex with men, which is a much larger group than those who identify as gay. And in fact, it’s generally not the gays in this group who aren’t disclosing their sexuality to their doctors, but rather, the bisexuals:

The survey found a striking distinction: While 78 percent of the men who had sex with men and identified themselves as homosexual said they had discussed their sexuality with their doctors, none of the men who had sex with men but identified themselves as bisexual had told their doctors.

So why did this article identify all of these men as gay in the headline, even though some self-identify as gay and some do not? Yes, “gay” makes a shorter headline than “men who have sex with men” or “gay or bisexual,” and part of this has to do with the general invisibility of male bisexuality, but I also think it’s pretty relevant that 75% of the men in this study who identified as bisexual were black or Hispanic. There’s a revealing quote here from Dr. Monica Sweeney, the city’s assistant health commissioner for H.I.V. prevention and control:

“There is a frequent phenomenon in the black community in which a man who is gay, by the conventional ways that we all know to identify somebody as gay, identifies himself as bisexual,” Dr. Sweeney said, referring to the phenomenon known as the “down low.”

By the conventional ways that we all know: what’s going on here? Who is “we,” and whose conventions are valid? Who is granted the authority to determine whether an individual’s sexual identity is credible, and on what basis? There is a whole lot going on in the rhetoric of the “down low,” and that could be a whole series of posts in and of itself, but in the context of this particular article, I am interested in the discourse of “true” sexual identity and the notion of the closet.

Continue reading ‘Race, Bisexuality, and the Rhetoric of the Closet’