Why is race, why is diversity, important in science fiction? Why is it important — why should it matter — what race one’s characters are?
As a child I devoured YA fiction, filled with ghosts and goblins. My TV interests were the same: I gravitated toward the weird, the fantastic; so much so I often had to look under my bed to make sure Dracula (for example) hadn’t found his new resting place there.
But there were, with few exceptions, no characters who looked like me. There were no characters from neighborhoods like mine. What was far worst was that many of the characters who later came (and are still around today) didn’t act like me or anyone else I knew.
I wonder, would my life have been more enriched if there’d been a brownskinned girl or boy who starred in the fiction I so greedily devoured? If he or she had walked across the science fiction TV screen of my youth? Of this I’m sure.
Diversity is important because we, peoples of color, need heroines and heroes to people the landscape of our imagination. . . to point the way, to help us dream, to help us see something better in our tomorrows. We need characters to help make us proud of who were are and where we came from.
In short, we need characters to identify with. Characters who’re coming from the same space. We need role models, most especially ones who don’t die in the first fifteen minutes of the story; ones who aren’t caricatures and stereotypes.
Now don’t get me wrong. I continue to enjoy literature and films created by white authors. But I still need, I’d venture to say, we still need stories that emerge from the Black experience. And we aren’t the only ones who need this. Diversity in SF/fantasy is important for folks of all races.
If you want to know what’s going on my neighborhood — if you want to know what moves me politically, socially if you want to know what I dream, who better to ask than me? In other words SF/fantasy written not just by Black folks, but by Native Americans, peoples of Latin descent, written by the full racial spectrum, goes a long way toward making folks more intelligent, more tolerant. . . to moving our world a little bit closer to global humanity and understanding.
Racial inclusiveness, diversity, is just as important in SF/fantasy as it is in every other aspect of our lives. And in 2012 it is becoming an everpresent reality. We, authors of color, are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Check out what my fellow bloggers have to say on this subject (click the links on my blogroll to visit them).
Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer–is a Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/ or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/
L.M. Davis, Author–began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade. Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website http://www.shiftersnovelseries.com.
Milton Davis, Author –Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: http://www.mvmediaatl.com and http://www.wagadu.ning.com.
Margaret Fieland, Author–lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/ is available from Amazon.com Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.
Valjeanne Jeffers, Author –is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: https://valjeanne.wordpress.com http://wwwsistermoon.blogspot.com http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/
Thaddeus Howze, Author–is a veteran of the Information Technology and Communications industry with over twenty-six years of experience. His expertise is in re-engineering IT environments using process-oriented management techniques. In English, that means he studies the needs of his clients and configures their offices to optimize the use of information technology in their environment. Visit him: http://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com
Alicia McCalla, Author—writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: http://www.aliciamccalla.com
Carole McDonnell, Author–She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/
Rasheedah Phillips, Author–is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog: http://www.astromytholosophy.com/
Nicole Sconiers, Author-is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html
Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd