WisCon: be brave
Here are links to this year's WisCon guest-of-honor speeches, plus a couple of other items that seem to me to be relevant/related:
Hiromi Goto's speech, about stories, and control, and sf; about diversity, and representation, and who says what; about the power of reading. And more.
If you're a writer (a dreamer) from a people, a community, a history that has been long-marginalized, silenced or misrepresented, we so desperately need to hear your story in your voice, in your own grammar of perception and articulation....
N.K. Jemisin's speech, a sequel and response to her guest-of-honor speech at Continuum a year ago. This new speech is, among other things, a callout of some of the awful stuff that goes on in our community, and a call to arms, to stand up against bigotry, attacks, and intolerance.
Reconciliations are for after the violence has ended. In South Africa the Truth & Reconciliation Commission came after apartheid's end; in Rwanda it started after the genocide stopped; in Australia reconciliation began after its indigenous people stopped being classified as “fauna” by its government. Reconciliation is a part of the healing process, but how can there be healing when the wounds are still being inflicted?
(Worth noting that she added a followup side note about the phrase liberal-Jewish tradition, which was part of a quote from Delany in her speech.)
All of that was still in the back of my head when my plane home landed, and while we were waiting to debark, they played some music over the PA system, and one of the songs was Sara Bareilles's “Brave.” Which seemed pretty apropos. (lyrics.)
And then this morning when I opened my browser to write this post, I found a link to a long, lovely, excellent article by Vandana Singh, “Alternate Visions: Some Musings on Diversity in SF,” about sf, diversity, colonialism, transgression, imagination, language, and more. It resonates well with the WisCon GoH speeches.
A couple of quotes:
...one other effect of colonialism was to bind the imagination, to exclude from possibility other ways of thinking than that of the conquerors, other dreams, other futures.
Even in the midst of heartache, especially in heartache, our words matter.
“Over mountains, across settlements, singing goes the wanderer
Carrying within him the lute of his heart.” [quoted from Sahir Ludhianvi.]