This Week in Diversity: Racial Identity, Reading, and Writing

Spring is has reached New York! Here’s your weekly dose of links to ponder as you sit and bask in the sun.

Following up on last week’s links dealing with interracial writing in the speculative fiction community is Nisi Shawl, who hits home with a description of a panel on writing and racial identity at a recent convention: “Our fourth panelist had been raised as an American Indian and spent her life knowing absolutely that this was who and what she was. Then she discovered through genetic testing that her biological heritage is a mix European and Sub-Saharan African. No American Indian.” Fascinating stuff!

Color Online is also looking at racial identity and books, with a focus on reviewing. They ask if we review books by members of our own race of ethnicity differently than we review others. They have some pretty interesting responses in the comments thread, so take a read.

An article from Single Women Rule raises these issues as it discusses murals by a Latina artist that some people claim are demeaning to Black and Latina women. The artist’s agent is quoted as saying, “Sofia is Puerto Rican, maybe it would be a problem if the artist was White American, but she is Puerto Rican, from San Juan and lives in Bed-Stuy.” Does that make a difference?

Lastly, brings us some entertaining Chinese-to-English mistranslations:

As I general rule, I try to avoid eating furniture. Can anyone who reads Chinese give us a more accurate translation?

4 thoughts on “This Week in Diversity: Racial Identity, Reading, and Writing”

  1. Creating works that perpetuate historically demeaning images and perceptions of black and Latina woman is doubly irresponsible when the offender is of black or Latina descent.

    Black and Latina women suffer from a dearth of positive and inspiring images in the media. We can pretend like we are not influenced by media representations, but images like the one presented in this mural contribute to the damage of women’s self-esteem.

    The artist appears to not understand the historical weight and context of displaying objectionable imagery in a very public and international space.

  2. Melissa, I agree. I feel the problem lies in the lack of historical research. Just because someone is of a certain ethnic background doesn’t make them a cultural expert on their race. If anything, being a person of color *should* make you more sensitive toward visual or written interpretations related to race and how they will be perceived.

  3. The first character of the Chinese on the left means “look back,” the second one means “the pupil of the eyes.” Together it means “Reflection.” It is the name of the store. The other four characters on the right mean the antique furniture.

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