Useful summary of RaceFail ’09

Those of you involved in the online sf world almost certainly know that much of the sf blogosphere has been consumed for the past couple months with a wide-ranging imbroglio, largely around issues related to race, that people have been calling RaceFail '09. If you already know all about it, you can skip this entry.

But a fair number of y'all aren't so connected to that world, and may be entirely unaware of what's been going on.

Rydra Wong has been doing her usual excellent job of linking to everything, but there's quite a lot. There are well over 400 links on the first page of links, and over 300 (so far) on the second. And a lot of those links are to long posts with long comment threads. Much of what's been said is worth reading--but there's a lot to read.

So in case anyone wants an overview, Ann Somerville provides a very helpful themed summary, covering the major elements of what's been going on, with commentary about some of the ways in which each of the segments has been about race.

(There've been other summaries, too, of course.)

For those of you who are white and new to discussions of racism, and/or who don't see what all the fuss is about, and/or who are feeling defensive, and/or who are about to make any of the standard comments that people who've just encountered this have been making, I urge you to do some reading before commenting. Also to bear in mind that this isn't about you, and that you aren't being accused of anything.

(I suspect that paragraph may come across as condescending to some of you, and I apologize for that. The reason I'm saying it anyway is that a lot of people (especially white folks unused to thinking about this stuff), on first encountering RaceFail links, have been posting comments first and reading the discussions later, if at all, which it seems to me has generally resulted in more pain all around.)

You could start with the abovelinked summary; but if you're really new to this stuff, you might start by heading over to Scalzi's blog, where Mary Anne has guest-blogged an introductory discussion and provided some context and background. And she links to a bunch of good and useful resources, including several of her own recent journal entries.

I have a couple of RaceFail-related entries in progress, but who knows when they'll be finished enough to post. Mostly I'll be linking to other people anyway.

(Argh--apologies to LJ and Facebook folks if this entry shows up twice. I sleepily set the timestamp to 11:00 instead of 23:00; corrected now, but it may cause trouble in feeds.)

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