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bear by san

February 2017



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bear by san

One marvelously clever thing that was suggested at the "Why is SF so White?" panel, as a means of encouraging more non-white writers into the industry, was a mentoring program. (Liz Scheier, from the audience, also mentioned that she doesn't see nearly enough submissions with non-white protagonists or main characters, and would love to see more.)

The idea being that would-be writers of color could be paired with volunteer authors who would help mentor them.

I am not the person to administrate this. I know this about myself. But I thought it was a good enough idea to be worth sailing out into the zeitgeist.


I can only speak for myself and pretend to speak for others like myself

Someone asked me about this at Writer's Weekend about why there aren't more minority writers being published in sf/f. I think some of it has to do with the interest as well as the whole minority thing.

That is to say, those with Asian-American backgrounds (such as myself) tend to not be steered towards the arts as a potential career or hobby, at least to the extent in which one would give up other things in the drive to get published. Since it's neither stable nor lucrative it is a waste of time, as it were. (Though there is some leeway for Important Literary Stuff, but not so much sf/f.) I have a lot of other Asian friends involved in fandom and such, but not at a point in which they really, really go for the dream as it were. It's just a fun hobby to write fanfic or whatever.

So, if you've got a minority, and within the minority is even a further minority who is interested in chasing the dream, and then add the steep scale of even getting published and/or being successful no matter what your minority or majority and... well, not many break through.

But then not many white folks do, either :)

At least, that's my take on the Asian-American experience, but please feel free to add or correct me. This is just what I've gone through and seen others around me go through.

Re: I can only speak for myself and pretend to speak for others like myself

I think Asians in America perhaps do not yet feel the luxury of thinking about the arts for a living, nor face the closed doors that lead to a desperation to escape via the arts. Trapped by the "model minority" myth.

I thought, when I was younger, and there wasn't yet a flood of Asian American women's experience novels (sparked by Amy Tan), that I might write some sort of pseudo-biography. Writing about F&SF seemed frivolous to me in the face of being misunderstood *now* - but I think if I'd known about Chip Delaney when I was younger, I would have seen it differently. Or maybe not - it seemed somehow when I saw Octavia Butler and Chip Delaney and other black American writers of F&SF that it was a black/white thing, and once again something where being Asian left one out.