Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dressing On The Side

Over on DeeWee, user Sami brings up a point that has been a ghost in my mind. Once I read her words, however, I was hit with the thought of YET ANOTHER INSTANCE OF DRESSING.

A book without First Nations Peoples, but is about the expansion of the West in America, is a book with dressing. And not even a regular meat coated in dressing cause that's all it needs to be authentic.

It's just the dressing to the side.

"I'll have the Pioneer History in my Fantasy Please, with a little native fauna to the side. Hold the Amerindians, just give me a little fauna dressing, make that megafauna and I think I'll have some magic sprinkles with that."

It's already a problem when minority characters are treated like white folk born with all over natural tan, or exotic no-surgery eyeshapes - just as it is a problem with stereotypes. And now here's something for those who think it's too much hassle to even try.


History is the story of the past we all agree is true. It changes as society changes and recognizes how much 'we' all lied to tell the story we wanted to be true.

FICTION is a part of that history.

SPECULATIVE FICTION comes with an aura of supposedly being neural, futuristic equal, totally tolerant. And it lies. Because the people speaking the most and loudest are shutting others out from saying what is true. They prevail. Their vision.

And now an author is casually telling other writers and the next generation of readers that they DON'T even have to try. They don't have to mind the real world context and baggage and pain. They don't have to considerate.

Just write the ones you find troublesome out AND THEN start your tale. When someone asks why there's no mention of genocide, bloodshed, slavery or racism, you just go "Well those people never arrived so it wasn't a problem."

Extra bonus points? Have a fellow writer and friend throw money at the charities of 'those people' and then claim everything's solved and ok now.

1 comment:

  1. Semester ends in a month or so.

    I am now forced to remind myself daily that I have a list of projects to complete longer than my arm, and I cannot start work on an alternate-history exercise in which the megafauna live but so do the native populations. Who, just for kicks, are resistant to smallpox and other European diseases.

    All of which is to say I totally agree with you, and I want to see it done right - and am kind of twitching to try and do it myself...