|Eastercon and diversity
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
lapswood was kind enough to send me a few photos he took at Eastercon last month. I thought this one made a nice illustration of some points that were made about PoCs and the (lack of) diversity at science fiction conventions.
This is from the panel I was on. Myself, the gentleman next to me and the man on the opposite end from me are all working scientists. The other man is the moderator - I'm not sure whether or not he is a scientist.
When I look at this picture, the first thing that pops into my head is the Sesame Street song: "One of these things is not like the others/One of these things just doesn't belong."
Visually, the thing that doesn't belong is me. And that makes me sad. What does it make you think?
I am kind of grateful to Sesame Street for having alternate lyrics for when the song was about people:
Three of these kids belong together
Three of these kids are kind of the same
But one of these kids is doing his (her) own thing
Now it's time to play our game
Which is a nice way to distinguish difference, and implies agency. But if a kid wants to be included and isn't, or doesn't want to be the only one, it's a whole other ball of wax. That Children's Television Workshop can't really address in a two minute song.
I was astonished to discover in college that sci-fi fans and SCA folks can be really conservative. As in, one dude at an SCA event had a bumper sticker that read "AIDS isn't the problem, it's a solution." He also had an SCA one on his car. So, I may or may not and I am not admitting either way, peeled the AIDS one off his car. Thankfully it was a magnet, so I just reached up under his metal fender and stuck it there where no one could see it.
They could be less repulsively conservative, too. You know, just run of the mill Wisconsin conservative republicans conservative. But if a major demographic showing up to stuff is white guys, I suppose the right leaning tendency shouldn't surprise me too much, since they are also a major demographic of conservative politics in America.
(Which doesn't mean all white guy sci fi fans in WI are conservatives, and vice versa, I know. Generalizations and all that.)
Huh, I don't remember the people-version of the song at all! I like it. Although I have to say, I was the sort of kid who, when told to play the game, would probably wander off and start looking for butterflies. :P
I think you always run a risk, if you become deeply devoted to a sub-culture or a "scene", of becoming insular and intolerant, because the only people you're interacting with don't deviate far from your own interest/belief set.
LOL - it makes me think that there's 3 nerdy guys who are thinking, "SCORE! We got a hot girl on our panel"!
*sigh* I look forward to the day when a woman on a science panel is such a common occurrence that no one even thinks to remark on it.
I wish I had a shot of the audience to contrast with this one. It was actually pretty equal in terms of gender balance (if not race).
You're referring to the fact that you aren't wearing glasses, right?
*ducks and runs*
Looking at the pic on my phone, my reaction was 'two yellow-toned people in green, two pinky people in red - wonder if they planned that and the two in the middle would have looked better in green too'
I only realised from the comments that the small middle one was actually male and the left one was you...
Ahaha, I like that interpretation. Arranged in aesthetically pleasing fashion!
I think it's good that I'm hearing more and more people talking about this? Conspicuous attention is the first step toward change... </p>
The dad of two children who go to daycare with my son just wrote a book called The Throne of the Crescent Moon. He's Arab-American, and the book is fantasy rooted in Arabic rather than European mythology. He's written about PoC in fantasy (specifically GRRM) for Salon, and I saw him on a show on Geek and Sundry (Felicia Day's new thing) talking about this too.
I hope you're right.
I'm definitely making more of an effort to seek out non-Western authors writing about non-Western characters these days. It chagrins me slightly that it's taken so long for me to figure out that at least part of the reason I felt my Asian-ness is insufficient has had a good deal to do with my education. :/
The Moderator on this panel was my very good friend vicarage
who is a meteorologist by profession so I guess he is also a Scientist!