Thursday, May 7, 2009

There's Something About Tor Writers

Or perhaps the title should be: There's Something About White Female Want-To-Feel-Progressive-Writers

There's Something About White SF Writers

Ahh, that's the ticket.

Now, Lois McMaster Bujold in response to criticism on Patricia Wedge's erasure of Native Americans in her pioneer fantasy 'The Thirteenth Child', says this:

You know, I thought you were making a few interesting points, till you came to this:

"I've come to the conclusion that based on the shadow cast by white supremacist colonization and the ongoing genocide of the original inhabitants of the Americas, I can't-- in good conscience-- read the Thirteenth Child. It's not so much recoiling from a shadow cast by a distortion in my head but disgust with a trope that holds that even when they're strangers in a strange land, all white people need in order to prosper is whiteness."

My mother -- born in 1912 -- used to have a phrase for this: "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts."

A stance of moral superiority really cannot be floated over an abyss of ignorance. (Though I admit, people routinely try.) It's especially not a sound footing for this book which, within the limits of its scope, actually does some very interesting things with subverting assumed Avyrupan dominances.

I will stop recommending you read it, however. The book deserves better than to be pored over by an inquisitor only seeking evidence for a conviction already decided upon.

Ta, L.

Someone says "The complete erasure of Indigenous Peoples echoes current pseudo myth that all White People needed to survive is themselves/their whiteness, they never had to rely on anyone to get by."

And Bjould says: "You've already made up your mind to dislike this. This book/this author deserves better than someone who is LOOKING FOR RACISM."

Yes, as if Racism is microscopic and some of us don't trip over log sized wedges sticking out of people and institutions on a daily - no, an hourly basis.

Well, it looks as if I shall never be finishing up the Saga of Miles Vorkosigan.

And right now, I'm just going to scroll through Tor and put all their authors on my 'TO NEVER READ' list. Maybe I'll cross reference said list with a list of minority writers and gain a handful of new authors. But I'm tired of this white bullshit.

And I agree with the poster over on the Tor site who pointed out the death of colonies who weren't assisted by Natives who shared their crop of Corn (which currently rules us all) and how to plant and what to eat. Yes, it's 'nice' to write about the colonization of the Americas without Whites grave robbing, raping native women, killing women and children, infecting with diseases, treating as subhuman, destroying cultures and a way of life and committing genocide. Apparently, however, Patricia Wrede feels the way to do that is to erase the multiple native peoples of the Americas out of existence.

But isn't it 'nice' all the white people reading can totally imagine themselves in her world? Who cares about the First Nations Peoples, Blacks, Mexicans, Latinos and Chinese who all played a part in 'The Matter of America' who will end up going 'WTF?!!!'. They're just being picky.

And because I don't want to write another post, since I'm already covering WHITE SCIFI DOING IT WRONG - District 9, where the intergalatic peoples being exploited in South Africa; with their technology being stolen and reapplied for martial purposes, where they are second class citizens labeled non-humans and constantly advised against using or wandering into human only zones or bathrooms or swimming holes; are COCKROACHES.


You read that right.

The sub-human group that needs to 'know its place', that's considered a burden, that's watched and monitored and can be disappeared just like that - intergalatic. cockroaches.

It should be noted that the original short film, doesn't have the aliens as cockroach shaped. I wonder who added that little titbit, an American? Or a South African? My bet's on American.

If you do NOT see the problem here, you should stop trying to be an anti-racist. Just. stop.

Meanwhile, Peter Jackson is rapidly becoming a Hollywood living marker of 'INSIDE: Amazing Skanky Race Issues!'. He got a pass for continuing Tolkien's race prejudices, but King Kong and now this are all on him.

Intergalatic COCKROACHES, people - who need to go back where they came from! And the plot seems to revolve around a white, male, human, by the way, the cockroaches are not taking center stage in this possible Apartheid parallel.

Y'know, I bet McMaster Bujold would tell me I'm just looking for racism so of course I'll find it. How cold is it that I'm guessing she just might be a FireFly fan too?


  1. Maybe it should just be "There's Something About White People" because Lord knows that comes up everywhere, ever. :/

    I think we White people need a slogan, like, "White People: If We Can't See It, It Doesn't Exist."

    Catchy, right?

  2. FYI, I will never stop loving your for T.O.R. The Original Racists.

  3. hmm, i didn't know that was the plot of District 9, damn. it's weird because in the short film the aliens seem almost like the bad guys, kind of, like sending their big tubes down to steal everybody's resources... but that doesn't seem to be present in the movie version trailer.

    i'm not sure a humanoid cockroach is any worse or better than the almost grosser squid-tentacle-faced things in the original short, though.

  4. You know, I'm so done with "But why won't you give racists a fair chance?" as a statement coming out of people's mouths like the proper response is not to laugh at the idiocy of it.

  5. Mara:Why are you here? I distinctly said if you do not see the problem with cockroaches - you should just STOP trying to be anti-racist.

    I suggest you utilize Mr. Google.

  6. *headdesk*^25 And I'd been so glad that I hadn't noticed LMB failing horribly so far... so much for that :/

    I've been thinking a lot about sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk and erasure of native peoples... it gets more complicated (at least for me to think about) when the uninhabited wilds are entirely fictional or on other planets, but my goodness, isn't it blindingly obvious that "America except without those pesky natives" is problematic? Just a bit?

    Is there a more concise name for the "aliens or other weird/scary non-humans playing the parts of POC, and all humans playing the part of white people" sci-fi trope? Because I'm noticing it more and more.

  7. Rivenwanderer:I'm not sure if there is a more concise name for it. I'm most familiar with it in terms of - "WHAT THESE PEOPLE NEED IS A HONKEY" wherein the human (default white) solves the problems of the alien race and is plucky and daring and has an adventure that forever changes the world of the PoC stand-ins.

    Tv Tropes has a whole set of stuff under Race that could likely get applied to any and all fantasy settings, however. And they don't even have them all.

  8. Oh hey, TvTropes *does* have a Race category! (I'm not super-familiar with the site. Boy is it hard to find something intentionally, and easy to wander around getting distracted :) ) seems to be the tvtropes page for what I was thinking of.

  9. Goddamnit, Bujold. I really wish authors I like would just...well, at this point, I'd be happy if they just stopped saying things at all. At least give us the ILLUSION that they're not being so incredibly stupid about this issue.

    How incredibly disappointing.

  10. Oh, for (insert entity's name here)'s sake. When it becomes unfair to ask why something got omitted and admit the omission bugs you too much to continue, it's too fucking much. I stopped reading every nationally known gay-oriented magazine you could likely name because my existence as a bisexual gets omitted as often as they can possibly manage. And yes, this does mean I get told I'm too sensitive and just need to deal because the bones I get thrown should be enough. All hail the master's table and the benisons it provides. *gags*

  11. I'm not even going to try to follow this hot mess. This shit is making me tired just thinking about clicking.

  12. If only the mess were confined to Tor. Bujold is a Baen/Eos author. Wrede's book came out from Scholastic.