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RaceFail09 [Mar. 7th, 2009|10:34 pm]
Apparently I've been living under a rock this week because, although I've been seeing parts of the Epic Race Debate in Science fiction and and fantasy fandom for some days now, I didn't realize that it was all one big discussion until I read dolphin__girl's post. It makes for interesting reading and crosses over into some medievalist blogs as well. Seeking Avalon has a summary of the discussions that started the ball rolling and rydra_wong is keeping track of their many branchings.

I'm not sure I have much to add at this point, except that it gives me a lot to think about in my own attempts at writing fiction. I may write something up when I've processed it all.

[User Picture]From: dolphin__girl
2009-03-08 09:43 am (UTC)
It does take a hell of a long time to process. As I said, the parallels to Yelling Class are scary, and that was six months of it. Some people were never able to process it, and I'm still working on it.

One of the big moments in teaching that brought a lot home to me though was when we were doing moons and tidal movements in science with my Grade 6 class, so I read them "Tides of Change" as a language-arts combined curriculum lesson. They thought it was really cool that I'd written the story, and got them trying their own. Then I had them do a mind map of Lys, the female protagonist (a mind map is a picture of the character with the face blank and the personality traits drawn in instead), and I got all these pictures of a blond-haired white girl.

"Guys," I said to the predominantly south-asian girls who'd turned in the projects (the boys mostly elected to do Zac, who is white), "Lys's last name is Khatri. She's not white."

"You mean... she's Indian?" said one of the girls.

And I saw the looks on their faces.

And something inside me went "ohhhhh."

Edited at 2009-03-08 09:44 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: bossymarmalade
2009-03-08 05:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, that hit me in the heart; I spent six years of my childhood living in the West Indies (in a country where white wasn't the majority) and it still would have never occurred to me that any of the protagonists of the stories I read were anything other than white.

Thank you for sharing this story.
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[User Picture]From: dolphin__girl
2009-03-08 06:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome.

Actually, one of the things I loved about their response is that one of the girls got so excited she redid the project, turning it in on a full size sheet of bristol board (it was only supposed to be a sheet of letter sized paper) and decorated in a real salwar kameez that she had either outgrown or appropriated from a younger relative and cut apart.

Edited at 2009-03-08 06:09 pm (UTC)
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