Mind the Gender Gap Discussion

If you missed watching this mid-October, here’s the replay!

😀

Mind the Gender Gap Discussion on Monday, October 18 at 7:00 PM
Panelists:  Sydney Amanuel ; Sue KisenwetherCin’Von Quinzel;  Stitch ; and  S.R. Toliver

Too White Bread for This Shit: Race and Racism in Laurell K Hamilton’s Urban Fantasy Series

Too White Bread for This Shit_ Race and Racism in Laurell K Hamilton’s Urban Fantasy Series (1).png

“I’m so white-bread, if you cut me I’d bleed bleached flour! I have no ethnicity to me, and I’ve always wanted some.”

– Laurell K. Hamilton in an interview excerpted from Locus Magazine.

I’ve been reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s urban fantasy series – the necromancer-focused Anita Blake series and her sidhe political drama Merry Gentry series – since I was in high school and I picked up a copy of Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake #12) back in 2004.

In the fourteen years since I began reading the two series, I’ve noticed one constant in both of her series. Hamilton constantly attempts to talk about race in her work through a focus on (predominantly white) supernatural characters while characters of color in the series are reduced to stereotypes and tropes that have long-since went out of style. Simply put, Laurell K. Hamilton is awful at writing about race and racism.Read More »

Stitch on Fansplaining’s Two-Part Episode About Race and Fandom!

Earlier this week I got a chance to participate in an episode of fandom podcast Fansplaining that was all about race/racism in fandom and giving people of color a chance to speak about what they’d witnessed and experienced. It was amazing!

First, the cool content:

Fansplaining Episode 22A

In “Race and Fandom Part 1,” Flourish and Elizabeth follow up on the last episode’s questions about the impact of racism in the Star Wars fandom—and how it’s a microcosm of fandom at large. They interview Rukmini Pande and Clio, and they hear clips from Holly Quinn, Shadowkeeper, and PJ Punla. Topics covered include the historical presence of fans of color, space nazis, femslash and its discontents, and the Filipino perspective on the whiteness of media.

(Show notes!)

Fansplaining Episode 22B

In the second and final installment of our “Race and Fandom” episodes, fans of color continue to speak about their experiences in fandom. Elizabeth and Flourish interview Jeffrey Lyles and Zina (@stitchmediamix), then hear clips from Roz (@rozf), Traci-Anne, and zvi LikesTV (@zvilikestv). Topics covered include being Black and Jewish, Star Wars weddings, cosplaying characters of color, and why kink is never divorced from the real world.

(Show notes)

Under the cut is a bit of backstory (copied largely from some DMs I sent earlier in the week) about what sparked this anger at fandom (for me and several of the contributors this episode):Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: Single White Vampire

This month in Urban Fantasy 101, we talk about the single white vampire myth and how urban fantasy authors (erroneously) equate vampires with whiteness.


Urban Fantasy 101 - Single White Vampire.jpg

Why are so many vampires in Urban Fantasy fiction French (and white)?

I have issues with the way that popular vampire mythology and fiction remains singularly focused on white, European, male vampires.

I know that Anne Rice popularized the notion with her white French vampires back in the day, but that’s not an excuse or an explanation for the lingering trend or the genre’s reliance on putting French vampires all over the place – especially where no French vampire has ever belonged.Read More »

Maggie Stiefvater’s Got An Issue With the Star Wars’ fandom’s focus on Poe & Finn

Obviously, this post has spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And some of them might be above the cut.


star-wars-7-finn-poe-dameron

Earlier yesterday, The Raven Cycle author Maggie Stiefvater took to tumblr (in a response to a message sent from one of her fans) to announce that she had beef with the Star Wars fandom in the wake of Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Why does she have an issue with the fandom?

Could it be because fandom insists on shipping Rey with Kylo Ren despite everything he did to her?

Could it be because of racist AUs like the ‘segregation’ AU someone saw floating around?

Or could it be because clueless and offensive people fandom have decided that Finn is the ultimate misogynist for – wait for it – daring to hold Rey’s hand at some point in the film?

No.

Not even close.

Maggie has beef with the Star Wars fandom because they’re focusing too much on Poe Dameron and Finn.

You know, the first men of color to ever be main characters in a Star Wars film.

Instead of basking in that beautiful POC rep (or, if she must complain, point out that we still haven’t had a woman of color with a significant presence in the film series on that same level), she’s steamed because fandom isn’t focusing as much on Rey as they are on Finn and Poe.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101 – Issues of Immortal Morality-

Welcome to Urban Fantasy 101, where we look at Dos and Donts along with discussions about good and tropes when writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance stories. Later on there’ll be themed book reclists (AKA – Required Reading) and eventually we’ll even include guest posts from/interviews with published authors writing diversity into these genres.


Urban Fantasy 101 - Issues of Immortal Mortality.png

It’s been a couple of years since I read the last Southern Vampire Mysteries book from Charlaine Harris or watched the show, but one thing that really made the series difficult to consume (aside from well… a lot of other stuff with regard to sexual content) was how the vampire Bill Compton was originally a soldier in the side of the Confederate Army.

I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely difficult to sympathize with or even like a character that fought on the side of the Confederacy. It doesn’t matter what he does in the present day story or even if they’re a current crusader for justice. They were a part of something horrible in history and chances are, that they weren’t forced into it.

I still remember watching those first few episodes of True Blood and just frowning at the way that the townspeople in Bon Temps were fawning all over Bill. I felt so uncomfortable. It wasn’t only the fact that he was a vampire in their tiny town that had them losing their minds, but that he was old enough to have fought in the Civil War – on the side of the Confederacy.Read More »

#FlashbackFriday – Preference and Race in the Dating World

Originally written in 2013 on Tumblr.


 

I hate the word preference. Or at least, I hate the concept of that most people have of it in terms of dating.

I hate that not only has society made it okay for everyone to have a (frankly racist) preference against Black women, but that it’s also socially acceptable to talk about why you won’t date a Black woman… TO BLACK WOMEN.
Read More »

Don’t know from nothing – Original Fiction

Originally posted on Tumblr on September 28, 2013.


After closing, Naeem’s bodyguard Malachi arrives at the café to deliver plenty of harsh words for Josie along with her clothes for the evening. Later, Josie gets the rug pulled from underneath her feet when Naeem introduces her to someone that truly shouldn’t exist.

Ricky’s closes at half past six.

By the time that Josie finishes stacking chairs and sweeping the floors, the sky outside is dark and everyone else has gone home except for Ricky himself who lives upstairs in a heavily warded apartment.Read More »

Fantastic Beasts & Invisible Diversity in the Harry Potter Series

fantastic-beasts-01_0_0

For a body of media that seems fixated on different avenues of oppression, the Harry Potter series is seriously lacking when it comes to actual diversity and oppression that doesn’t revolve around magical beings. Seriously, just about everything’s a metaphor for some form of oppression or some facet of a marginalized identity.

If you’re looking for allegories about human rights and racism shown through a lens of magical humans and magical species, cool. That’s what you’re getting.

If you’re actually looking for nuanced interpretations of how race, power, and privilege intersect and affect each other in a world of magic, maybe look somewhere else.

J. K. Rowling’s world isn’t going to be it.

Read More »

Library Haul 11/02/2015

wpid-20151102_213136.jpgYesterday was my second attempt at getting the books I need for my story. I actually got a lot of good books for research day part two and a couple of books that are just for fun.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my story will be superficially similar to Crimson Peak because it’s basically the thing I’m obsessed with. And I liked the feel of the film so much– gosh.

My planned pair of siblings (The Darlings) are messed up in different ways though and my heroine is a woman of color who is immediately suspicious of the duo.

What’s been fun is that in this early part of the planning stage it’s still something I can talk about with my nieces so we’ve been talking a bit about racism and we’re brainstorming monsters and what makes people monstrous. Normally, I can’t really involve them in the writing process because they’re still so little, but since I haven’t actually decided what I’m doing with the plot and I don’t have to skip over any sexual stuff just yet, we’ve been having a blast!

I’m having a ton of fun with research and taking down notes. I can’t wait to sit down and do more of the actual writing.

Now if you’re here, you’re here for the book info so let’s get into that!


Read More »

Fandom. you’ve got a huge race problem — An Introduction Post

poc in fandom image

Sam Wilson. Abigail Mills. James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Eve Moneypenny . Joan Watson.

What do these characters all have in common?

Well, they’re all characters of color in popular films or television shows.

They’re all shippable with fandom’s white dude darlings (Steve Rogers, James Bond, and Sherlock Holmes for example).

And oh yeah –

Fandom constantly desexualizes them and removes them as valid canon or fanon love interests for said white dude darlings so that a white character can swoop in and fandom can have fantastic ships.

Let’s face it: fandom has a major racism problem.

The clearest sign of this is how characters of color and the fans that defend them are treated.

Fandom, we need to do better. We need to talk about the fact that there’s no balance. We need to talk about how either fandom is hypersexualizing characters of color or desexualizing them.

We also need to talk about how fans and characters of color do not get treated well in fandom and yet it keeps getting glossed over as if it’s not a sign of serious racism in fandom. Reduced to drama or ship wars, discussions about the methods that fandom undertakes to deliberately distance characters of color from white characters (either with regard to friendships or romantic relationships) are frequently pushed to the side.

Whenever someone makes a post or writes an article about the way that fandom pushes these fans and characters to the sidelines, it rarely goes well.

I know this for a fact. I’ve written my fair share of those posts and the negative responses have been both intense and immediate.

Even on my previous posts about fandom’s racism problems, I’ve gotten dismissed by people who otherwise seem like they’re great. I’ve had nasty messages sent to my inbox. Fandom friendships have suffered. After a while, you get labeled as a trouble maker because fandom is supposed to be this carefree place where oppression is ignored unless it’s that of actually diverse fictional characters and the fans wanting representation to carry over to the fandom.

Despite that, I’m not going to keep quiet about it.

I’m here to talk about this racism problem in detail by using different fandoms and ships as examples along with my personal experiences and those of fellow fans.

For the next five months, we’ll be looking at how fandom mistreats and misuses characters of color and how fandom spaces tend not to be so safe for fans of color who are vocally uncomfortable with this treatment.
Read More »

Library Haul 10/27/2015

Library haul 10-27.jpg

This time, my library haul is kind of focused on one thing: research!

I’m looking at Gothic Romance/Horror and trying to put my own spin on it. The story I’m working on is focused on a young biracial woman (daughter to a West Indian mother and a white American lawyer who doesn’t acknowledge her paternity) whose new husband isn’t anything like she expects.

I wanted to look at subverting genre tropes and adding some much-needed diversity to the genre and I felt like setting the story in New Orleans in that narrow period where “marriage across the color lines” was legal before 1900 would be a great idea. (I also wanted to write about vampires but I’m not sure I’m doing that in the first place because I just remembered that werewolves are my secret loves.)

But I know nothing about New Orleans so it was time for RESEARCH!Read More »

Crimson Peak’s pretty but it sure doesn’t look diverse!

crimson peak1 bloody disgusting

No matter what, I am going to see Crimson Peak next month.

I decided this back when the cast was first announced and then when we got those set photos of what looked like a funeral. I love Tom Hiddleston. Love him like I love naps, it’s that intense. And I of course enjoy Guillermo del Toro’s work. He’s a freaking master of horror and tension and his movies always leave me feeling kind of uncomfortable but in a good way.

But here’s the thing about my intense love of del Toro and Hiddleston coming together to put on the Gothic nightmare of my heart: it’s so not diverse in terms of race and I’m not okay with that.Read More »

Dear Comic Fans: We Get it. You’re racist and racebending scares you.

racebending 2

Why are comic book fans so darn mad when a comic book character gets the racebending treatment?


For the most part, comic book fans are so very predictable when it comes to race.

Nothing pisses comic fans off more than a historically white character being racebent and therefore turned into a character of color or when a character of color takes over a legacy title (Like Superman, Spider-Man, or Ms. Marvel).Read More »