|kyrias (kyrias) wrote,|
@ 2011-02-11 02:42 am UTC
|Entry tags:||privilege, racism|
I spent a while talking with my friend about racism and other -isms after she opened up the floor with a question about cultural appropriation.
I failed to get across to my friend why.
Why I cringe when an Asian character is portrayed a certain way on television.
A: Because when you're part of the minority, you know that every single person who wears your skin color in media might as well wear your face because that person is who people are going to think of when they can't see past skin colour.
Why exactly it's so offensive when you're at a panel about popular myths at Arisia, and when you comment that you would really, dearly, love to see more narratives about mythologies other than the ubiquitous ones of werewolves and vampires and fae -- any. And they come back with "YOU should write it, if you want to see it." Why, leaving that panel, you stumble through alternating cramps of hot and cold somewhere in the vicinity of your stomach and heart and feel oddly in need of tears, of screaming incoherent rambling, of something to take away the sting.
A: Because they're telling you that you don't matter, that you can either suck it up or you can go home where your majority is. That you're not their demographic and they couldn't care less about "coddling" you. That your story doesn't matter, that it's not as interesting, not as worthy of writing about.
Friend came back with: "Well, when women wanted more women in Sci-fi and Fantasy, they started writing it themselves."
Implying that we should all pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.
That's fine. I didn't belabor the point.
It's hard speaking to privilege. And some days it's so hard to work past what seems logical, until you realize that it's not logical at all because nothing about -isms really is about logic. It's just about plain laziness, plain apathy, and plain blindness.
I've been finding it hard to continue writing Estyria, my fantasy novel, but now I know that I must continue. Even for nothing else, for no one else except myself.
It's a Chinese, female protagonist who takes on dynastic China and all its -isms and not only lives to tell the tale, but gets to have her man too.
For every book that I could have read by an author who insists on writing her 200th (yes, I counted, Amanda Quick) female protagonist with red/blond/golden brown hair and green/blue eyes -- I shall write and dream of a day when I can randomly pick up a book in the bookstore and see almond shaped, dark brown eyes smiling back at me from a cover that isn't flogging the dead horse that is China in the days of Mao's power trip.