writing rengeek magpie mind

September 2014

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writing rengeek magpie mind

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.

Comments

I think you're missing the point. A bunch of people who do not look like you standing around talking usually looks like an exclusionary clique you don't want to approach. If one of them comes over and says "Hey, come hang out with us," it opens a door.
Mm. Yes and no.

It might, yes, open a door. It might also feel like 'hey, there's a person who does not look like us, let's take pity on them and invite them in because we're being nice'.

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. Personally, I'd rather be damned for being a decent human being than for being a bigot.

See you in Hell.
Right.

Stepping out of the conversation, but yes, I fully intend to be buried in summer clothes.
All my friends will be there.
You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Yeah. Pretty much :)

I definitely agree that change would be nic. I'm just not entirely sure how I feel about this particular proposal as one potentially on the receiving end.

I think you are being a decent human being :D
That makes sense. I don't think I've ever actually felt that way. I pretty much hung out with white geeks (eventually someone needs to smack me for using this terminology) my entire life and never felt like I wasn't welcome, even if I did stand out in the crowd :)
I grew up in an area that was racially and ethnically diverse. Socioeconomically, maybe not so much, but race and ethnicity? Yeah.

I graduated from a college where the majority of the student body was Protestant, caucasian, and heterosexual. Experiencing that social culture versus the one I grew up in was like a slap in the face. Everyone claimed tolerance and acceptance, but underneath? It wasn't there. Homophobia was rampant. (I'm sure several people know about UVA's fight song and the disgusting "tradition" to alter a lyric to "not gay.")

And the race issue? The newspapers liked to ask the question of "Why do all the minority kids hang out together? Why do the black kids hang out with the black kids? Why do the asian kids hang out with the asian kids? Why do none of them hang out with the white kids?" Note, though, that the onus here is on the minority kid to approach the white kids. Because based on my observations while a student there, I can count the number of times on one hand that I saw a white kid approach the black kids or the asian kids. And I'd have fingers to spare.

It can a daunting task for that minority kid to approach the white kids -- especially when none of them extended an invitation and in certain circumstances, made it very clear in every single way except for verbally, that You Are Not Welcome.
It can a daunting task for that minority kid to approach the white kids -- especially when none of them extended an invitation and in certain circumstances, made it very clear in every single way except for verbally, that You Are Not Welcome.

Works both ways. Living in one of the blackest cities in America-- Philadelphia-- one might think black people would be more comfortable approaching white people and extending an invitation. It's never happened, to me or to anyone I know here.

For whatever race, it's simply a lot less exhausting to be around people with whom you don't have that issue.

PS

This is not to say that SF/F publishing has that same unwelcoming attitude as the latter scenario, because I don't think it does.

But it's certainly a large table of kids to approach. ;)

Re: PS

Yeah, and some of us are assholes.

Sorry about that.

Re: PS

No, not every community is open, but I've found the SF/F community to be one of the most open communities I've encountered, which is part of why this "open the doors" thing confuses me. I never felt like it was closed to me :)

Re: PS

May I ask your age?

Re: PS

Late 20's.

Re: PS

Ah. I'm 36, and I suspect the difference between your experience and mine is in the 8-10 years separating us. I'm glad your experience is more positive than mine.