Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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My Response to the Racism Ruckus

Last night janetmiles directed my attention to a large fuss about racism, which has boiled all over LiveJournal and beyond. A summary of the instigation and ensuing mayhem is here. I meant to explore the whole situation thoroughly, I really did. But all I could think was, "This is a stupid argument. This is a textbook example of how not to talk about race issues. This is a waste of my time." I just couldn't see any good coming out of it, and substantial harm already has -- feelings hurt, journals closed, and dire threats flung by people who really should have a firmer grip on their professional bearing. So after about ten minutes, I quit reading and went off to do other things.

I woke up with this idea fizzing in my brain. I am a writer, a reviewer, an editor, a teacher. I am going to do something totally different.

For those who need it, here are some basic resources about race issues. I'm taking a turn at "Racism 101" because brown-skinned folks get tired of it.
"Racism - Introduction" (This is the first in an extensive series of essays on race relations, including some matched pro/con pairs.)
Race, Racism, and the Law (from a law school)
"Racism - Getting to Basics" (from a blog about Middle Eastern sociopolitical meltdowns and fallout)
How to Help Stop Racism (from the Stop Hate website)
Teaching Tolerance (extensive resources for parents, teachers, teens, and children)

These are some of my favorite "canon" poets of color:
Alice Walker
Langston Hughes
Leslie Marmon Silko
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Paula Gunn Allen
Phillis Wheatley
Robert Hayden
Zora Neale Hurston

These are some poets of color on Poetry Blog Rankings:
Antonio G. Fernandez
Jon Sanders
Jy Obadele

These are some of my favorite writers whose ethnic background and experience has influenced their work:
Booker T. Washington
Frederick Douglass
Gloria Anzaldua
John (Fire) Lame Deer
Joy Harjo
Octavia Butler
Sandra Cisneros
Sojourner Truth

These are some talented ethnic artists:
Aaron Douglas
Claude Clark
Hayao Miyazaki
Katsushika Hokusai
Kevin Red Star
Marcos Pavon Estrada
Ruben Manuel Guerra
William Barak

Me and You

The anthology Triangulations: Taking Flight contains one of my short stories in which all of the characters have brown skin; "Peacock Hour" takes place in the Whispering Sands desert. newWitch magazine (issue #15) published my short story "Peaches from the Tree of Heaven," which is not about racism, but rather about Chinese and Chinese-American cultures and family planning. Click the "poem" tag in the right sidebar for poetry examples; I've posted a variety of those on this blog. If people wish to discuss how well (or poorly) I presented ethnic characters and concepts, that's welcome as long as it stays civil and you can support your arguments with citations from the text. Quality feedback aids targeting.

If you are a writer or artist of color, and I haven't already listed you, and you would like to present your work to an audience rich in smart sensible people who like literature and artwork -- send me a link. If I get more than a few in replies here, I can pull them into a separate post later.

I disapprove of racism wholeheartedly. I've experienced a few incidents of it directed at me. I did not like it. I would not want to be stuck with it every day. I do not want anyone else to be stuck with it either. Racism is a disgraceful waste of human potential based on an atavistic instinct that is unseemly in sentient beings. This is what the Universe wanted me to do about it today. I've been working on this post for about two hours. This feels like time well spent.
Tags: art, blogging, community, education, fantasy, fiction, networking, paganism, poetry, reading, waterjewel, writing

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