Monday, July 27, 2009
2009 has been 'The Fail Year'. Everytime one turns around, someone's being idiotic in a spectacular way, about race. The spectacular is the way it's different from all the other years. But spectacular is exhausting. Spectacular, you see, equals 'Post Racial' and that lie is one overfed, over indulged, blood sucking leech on the arm of activism.
Or at least my activism.
January to March took up all sorts of energy with Race Fail - Part 1.
Then came Part 2 (Mammoth!Fail) in April and May and Part 3 (Cover!Fail / Cover!Gate) in July, with Harlan Ellison being Harlan Ellison and using the word n****** and, Justine Larbalestier's blog hosted discussion on the whitewashing of book covers - including her newest YA book, LIAR.
There's still August, September, October, November and December to go, for five to three more big things. Big as in, not counting the little OMGWTF indignities and outrages. And this is all Speculative Fiction associated. This does not include the vetting process for soon to be Justice Sonia Sotomayor or the Philly Pool 'Complexion' situation, or Henry 'Skip' Gates or The Brooklyn Lesbians Of Colour Victims of Police Brutality situation.
- This isn't counting the email with the photoshopped watermelons on the White House Lawn.
- This isn't counting the email with the photoshopped 44th POTUS as a black square with jigaboo eyes.
- And I'm pretty sure there was a third email incident I'm just not remembering.
- This also isn't counting the racist political cartoon of a dead chimp with cops discussing the stimulus bill
- Or Pat Buchannan talking about how 'White Men Built America'
This Week In Blackness put it succinctly: 2009 is the new 1952.
Or at least for those of us who didn't live through 1952 with nonwhite skins, each incident is feeling a heck of a lot like how we've imagined moments in 1952 must have been like; frustrating, painful and eating into one's strength.
I've found it extremely exhausting, don't you find it exhausting just reading the list? Do you remember the things I haven't mentioned so far? Because there's been more. A whole heck of a lot more, both Speculative Fiction oriented and non-writing/political.
Some Hints: Wiscon, Readercon, Robin McKinely saying she's going to be considering the POTUS to be a tanned white man, Prince of Persia (with white male lead).
And of course Avatar: The Last Airbender being RACEBENDED to have white heroes and brown villains. Because PoC Heroes aren't Realistic / Don't Sell / Blah Blah White Privilege Excuses Blah.
2009 has been a banner year for saying "IF YOU AREN'T WHITE, YOU DON'T BELONG".
I pause now for a potentially blurry set of references: Cockroaches in Space. District 9, Alien Nation (remake).
IF YOU AREN'T WHITE, YOU DON'T BELONG
Sure, it's more overt than it's been in a while, but it's not as if folk don't know what the whitewashed covers, and white actors in roles for characters of colour have meant for all these years. It's not as if folk haven't known why in the future PoC rarely seem to exist or why The Forbidden Kingdom, despite being all about Jackie Chan and Jet Li, needed a white boy to move the narrative along.
So it's International Blog Against Racism Week - but I'm exhausted because 2009 has felt like a BLOG AGAINST RACISM YEAR. That said, however:
1. Teens Of Colour, reading and reviewing books
2. A Detroit organization, operating a library and offering support to young women.
3. Zulu Mech 1 Yes, African Mechas. A series produced by Wesley Snipes.
Meanwhile I'll continue regrouping enough to do more than blog occasionally about what absolutely infuriates me; regroup so I can go back to organizing the Carnival and not feel burned out just by living.