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Last year, I did a questionnaire focusing on Black women and science fiction. I haven't written much on it, and I couldn't figure out why until today. Today, I walk back and share the comments. #reclaimingmytime #phdchat #AcademicTwitter #blerd
Most of the responses were soooo valuable, and I know that #Blackgirlnerds are everywhere across the globe based on the 300+ responses that I received. But... there were a couple that I couldn't deal with at the time.
To keep these together, I'll use #NerdingWhileBlack ... I think it's appropriate when I think about all the times that people have been amazed that I read sci-fi and fantasy and watch anime consistently. I also think it fits since being a #nerd has often been raced as White.
My Question: Where do you live?
Response: "Africa where monkeys belong"
Question: What is your definition of science fiction?
Response: "Sheeit nigga that be a white man's genre and sheeeit. I just watch muh stories on the tv."
Response: "Democrats solving minorities' problems"
Question: What was the first science fiction book you remember reading?
Response: "Any book where blacks aren't subhuman apes is science fiction."
Question: These days, which type of science fiction do you read MOST often?
Response: "The news when they talk about blacks being productive members of society."
Question: Why do you read that type of science fiction most often?
Response: "Because its a fantasy because niggers are dumb."
Response: "Good writing styles, unlike the author of this survey"
Response: "Keeps me sane after the damage Obama did to my country"
Question: If you can remember, what is the last science fiction book you read?
Response: "WE WUZ KANGZ by William Shakespeare"
Response: Obama's biography"
Question: What are some must-have elements for you to read a science fiction book?
Response: "Fried chicken and watermelon "
Response: "Not being written as obvious biased bait, like this survey"
Here's the thing. It wasn't the inherent racism that bothered me. It was the fact that a few people were so triggered by Black women reading speculative fiction, specifically sci-fi. They took time out of their day to provide these responses.
I'm not surprised, though.
@zettaelliott has written about the need to decolonize the imagination hbook.com/2010/03/decolo…
@nkjemisin had to deal with the racist and sexist language when she won awards for her amazing novels theguardian.com/books/2015/jul…
Justina Ireland noted that "The science fiction and fantasy community has a problem with race. More specifically, SFF publishing as a whole is and continues to be antiblack." medium.com/fireside-ficti…
@Ebonyteach has a forthcoming book, The Dark Fantastic, that outlines how "the diversity crisis in children's and young adult media as not only a lack of representation, but a lack of imagination" nyupress.org/books/97814798…
Samuel Delaney was talking about racism in science fiction decades ago nyrsf.com/racism-and-sci…
Nalo @Nalo_Hopkinson told the story of an audience member who said "if there gets to be too many of you, you'll become too common" - she said that it seemed as if he implied that the value of Black scifi authors was in their rarity jstor.org/stable/pdf/330…

Other Black female speculative fiction authors, including @ElleOnWords and @tomi_adeyemi have also talked about race and speculative fiction. Basically, it's an ever-present issue, and we still have so much work to do.
I share the questionnaire response and receipts that outline the racism in speculative fiction for two reasons: (1) to highlight that Black people can and do write and read genre fiction and (2) to show that racism against Black people who read genre fiction is still present.
This is important for everyone to think about. Specifically, when you ask why there isn't much research on Black children, youth, or adults ..or any people of color and reading genre fiction, you have to ask yourself an important question:
(1) When has it ever been safe for us to talk about our love of #scifi #fantasy or #horror??
Now that I think about it, this would be a great conversation to have at #NCTE or #LRA this year. I think it's important to talk about the diversity in our reading choices and how, sometimes, our reading preferences (just like our existences) are rejected.
So, there’s interest in having a larger conversation about this, but I don’t know anyone who would be willing/able to talk on a panel about racism and speculative fiction at the conferences. Can you help me find a few people? #NCTEVillage #literacy #englisheducation #signalboost
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