Please spread the word about this.As RaceFail 09 continues, it has become clear that there are those who are hellbent on marginalizing and silencing people of color. In the past few months, minorities have been denigrated by bigoted authors and publishers who have also asserted that Fen of Color are rare and pratically non-existent. Despite numerous discussions and attempts to enlighten on the fact that POCs are fans, writers, artists and just as integral to this genre as our white counterparts, we are continuously dismissed.
On Monday May 18, 2009, we are asking anyone who identifies as a POC/non-white to post this banner, their speculative short stories, artwork, poetry or simply write a post on their favorite fandom on their blogs as an act of protest to show we will not be silent or invisible. The day of protest is entitled Fen Of Color United or more aptly, foc_u.
White allies can also show solidarity for this event by posting this banner and expressing the need for diversity and speaking out against the bigotry in the genre, through posts and/or their creative work as well.
In addition, a new community entitled FOC_U has been created. It's designed to be a safespace for POCs/non-whites and white allies to discuss the issues pertaining to RaceFail and a place to counteract its destructive effects. And it's also a fun place for everyone to also discuss their favorite fandoms. While memberships and posts are under moderation for the time being (until the community gets more established and input is welcomed), everyone is encouraged to join and make this a home.
You can help out by spreading the word and reposting this banner on your personal blog or creating one of your own if you'd like.
The gauntlet's been thrown and I for one think it's past time for us to take a stand and let our voices be heard, whether some people want to hear them or not.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me personally or stop by FOC_U.
And here's my two cents, and some background info on why protests like this are needed, and why pointing out racism where it happens on the Intarwebs is miserable, hard, but vitally important work: This matters to me - it should matter to everyone. Fans of Colour and their supporters have had enough of RaceFail after RaceFail on the internet. It's time to educate the people who think that if they can't see something or someone, they don't exist.
Calling out racism in something we love is painful, but SF/Fantasy isn't a whites only club, and it should not be spoken about as such. Just as we made it clear it wasn't a white boys only club a few short years ago, it's now apparently required for us to inform the SF establishment that FoC exist, and always have. No, it shouldn't be neccessary, but clearly, it is. Racism comes in many forms, and marginalization is an easy one to ignore if it isn't affecting you personally. Speaking up is vital - ignoring racism and hoping it will go away does not work.
If you don't know or haven't heard about Racefail, tablesawhas a good summary and explanation here with some excellent links, including rydra_wong's incredibly detailed RaceFail'09 (part 1) links pages. The latest part of RaceFail '09, known by some as MammothFail, is summed up here by naraht.
And finally: Why should we care about what a writer writes? And why is it different when that writer writes about one race or another - or writes that race out of existence? Well, in hermetic's journal, where the issues of the current RaceFail Book That Started It All were being discussed, the comment came up as to whether Europeans would feel the same about a book that erased their culture. A book called "The Years of Rice and Salt" came up - even though, in my opinion, it's not the same, because it at least says "white Europe died off because of the Black Plague", rather than "oh, they never existed!". And in response, naathcommented:
"But I will say that whilst this book basically completely erased my race and my culture from the world that this didn't actually upset me in any way. Why? Because in the *real world* that I live in every day the systems of power are *not* trying to erase me and my culture, and not wishing I was dead, or trying to make me conform, or pretending my history didn't happen. " [emphasis mine]
And that, in a nutshell is why it's different. White people can be secure in the knowledge that they are not being erased in the real world, just like in the book. But for Native Americans, a book by a white person that erases their existence is just another cherry on the obliteration sundae that has been their history since European settlement of the Americas.
UPDATE: A post in fight_derailing points out that the moderator of the foc_u community, neo_prodigy, has in the past made his journal an unsafe space for gender issues. Please keep this in mind if you join the foc_u community. However, I still support the protest, and am still am member of the community. You may choose for yourself.