Patterico's Pontifications

9/15/2020

Directive: If You’re White, Stop Writing About Black And Brown Characters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:49 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Well, as you can imagine, this got my blood boiling. The fact is, I abhor efforts to segregate free people as much as I abhor individuals acting like they are the Handicapper Generals we need to institute their version of fair play:

How about we stop telling people what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to being creative. Let wordsmiths and creative-types do the hard work of bringing to life that which is born from the fertile ground of their imaginations. Stop trying to restrict artists by imposing your own intolerance on others who just want space to freely express themselves.

Given that the very definition of fiction is: Literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people, it’s ridiculous that anyone believes that they have the authority to demand others to stop writing about, well, anything that stems from one’s own imagination. Take a moment to consider the many works of literature that would not be a part of the American library of classics if this specific authoritarian effort at censorship had been in place over the last century. We would be the lesser for it.

I don’t like censorship, and this is just another tendril of the ugly beast wending its way through our culture under the guise of being some sort of moral imperative. Let people create their own stories without trying to impose subjective restrictions on others just because you don’t think how they’ve fashioned a story is the *right* way to do it. It takes a lot of arrogance for an individual to believe that they should be setting the standards of acceptability for everyone else. How about this instead: If you don’t how a story has been crafted, don’t buy the book. If the story appears online, don’t click on it. We’re adults, we get to make these choices. Why is the reflexive reaction to what is perceived as unfair to limit choices rather than increasing choices? It’s unfortunate that a large swath of the country has become obsessed with controlling what people think and say, and now, even what they create. I think the most recent example of fictional writers facing the wrath of the critics over the characters they created and brought to life in a story occurred when American Dirt was published and quickly rose to the top of a number of bestseller lists. It rapidly became a book club favorite, and even Oprah selected it as her choice for her incredibly influential book club. The book reached that level of success because it was a remarkable piece of writing. The exquisite writing, the multi-layered cast of compelling characters, the overarching theme of oppression and freedom, and the harrowing journey of the two main characters simply left readers undone by its impact. However, there was a lot of anger directed at author Jeanine Cummins, whom the critics assailed for allegedly presenting stereotypes of brown people while being appropriative, as well as committing the biggest sin of all: she was a white writer whose work of fiction centered around brown people.

I want to know when if Rao will be following up her directive with a tweet telling black and brown people to not write about white people? Will she be instructing non-handicapped people to not include handicapped characters in their stories, or writers who can’t sing worth a hoot not to include opera singers in their stories? I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Anyway, in checking Rao’s Twitter feed, I see that she has attempted to justify her earlier tweet by moving the goalposts from telling writers what they can’t write to the business end of publishing and marketing books:

Look, I’m a brown person on my mother’s side, and Rao telling anyone that they cannot write about people like me is really offensive. Are we not worth the development of a story whose character resembles me – regardless of the color of the person writing it? What if said character draws attention to the history and current plight of those in a specific brown community today, and actually enlightens readers? Should that opportunity be squandered because the writer might not meet the imposed criteria? This regressive effort to practice creative segregation and police writers to meet her standards should offend creative-types of every stripe and color.

[Ed. It is no secret that there has historically been a dearth of writers of color in Hollywood, and in big publishing houses where the important decisions are made. However, with technology, there is a multitude of ways to get one’s stories out there for the public to read. Rao’s tweets conveniently ignore this. I am reminded of a blog I used to read, maybe 15 years that was written by a New Englander who was a writer and furniture maker. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name or the blog, but I do remember that he started publishing installments of an intriguing fictional story he was working on about a man working in a big, rambling old house and the strange noises emanating from the house and whether or not it was a ghost he saw flitting by. Readers loved the story, and would impatiently wait for the next installment to be published. In today’s world, that could easily catch the eye of someone in a position to make a book happen, propose a screenplay, offer the writer representation, or any number of possibilities..]

–Dana

95 Responses to “Directive: If You’re White, Stop Writing About Black And Brown Characters”

  1. Enough of this nonsense!

    Dana (292df6)

  2. Having worked in publishing for nearly a decade, I stand by what I wrote. [Sara Rao]

    It’s been going on a lot longer than that. Since the mid-1980s when dipsticks like Rao took over the gatekeeper editorships in publishing. And the reason that it’s so hard to find anything new that’s worth reading these days.

    nk (1d9030)

  3. So here’s my question to Rao: What did you do in the decade that you worked in publishing to change the landscape? Because what I see is a woman whose alleged principles were set aside in order to make money off of a corrupt system that discriminates against women of color. Doesn’t that make you…complicit???

    Dana (292df6)

  4. The good news is that Ms. Rao is getting shellacked in comments.

    Paul Montagu (cad685)

  5. As she should, Paul. She’s operating at a stunning level of self-importance and delusional authority.

    Dana (292df6)

  6. Has she never read Shakespeare? His plays are great because he understood people from all walks of life.

    norcal (a5428a)

  7. It’s thanks to people like Rao that I have to remind myself the Democrats are only the second worst party.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  8. @7 I second that. There is one party that just loves lording it over people.

    norcal (a5428a)

  9. Dear white people, you should stop writing characters if you’re bad at it…even if they’re other white people.

    Not white people, stop writing characters if you’re bad at it…even if they’re not white people.

    Basically, be better writers.

    As a writer of two, count’em two (2) books. It’s possible to write one, or two, without referring to race at all. Really! I mean, their about IT Organizational Transformation and Cloud Adoption, but I had to force myself to not address the race question, it was a tough decision, but I made it. I transcended the current operational use case by being an agile content curator and communicator, building an enhanced value chain through disintermediation of cultural stereotypes in communities of technology, and building a hyperlocal focus one the productization of horizontally aligned business models.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  10. When conservatives point out that Democrats are the historical party of segregation, the left squeals that all the racists left the Democrat Party and went to the Republican Party.

    When I read stories like this, I know that is simply not true.

    The left inhabits the party of segregation – always has, always will.

    Hoi Polloi (dc4124)

  11. Saira Rao — remind who this is. And why I should care about what she says white people “need” to do.

    Bored Lawyer (7b72ec)

  12. 9.

    I knew it. Your comments reek of horizontally aligned privilege.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  13. Klink, I’m sure that the White Fragility author would say that your books are infused with racial bias and systemic racism, you’re just not aware of it. Congrats on your new racist screed, BTW. 😉

    Paul Montagu (cad685)

  14. Klink, I’m sure that the White Fragility author would say that your books are infused with racial bias and systemic racism, you’re just not aware of it. Congrats on your new racist screed, BTW

    I’m sure that the White Fragility author would have absolutely no understanding of what your book was about but would still be compelled to label you racist. I second Paul’s congrats.

    Dana (292df6)

  15. 10.

    When conservatives point out that Democrats are the historical party of segregation, the left squeals that all the racists left the Democrat Party and went to the Republican Party.

    I have bad news for you: Most Jim Crow racists did jump to the Republicans, at least nationally. Rao and her ilk are a relatively recent breed of bigot.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  16. Vertical misalignment is the problem, with my approach we create a horizontally matrix’d organizational structure that crosses all implicit and intrinsic bias that is inherent in the functional silos of…

    …wait, that actually does kinda sorta sound…oh never mind. I’m an OFWG, just own it.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  17. @16

    In Asimov’s Foundation (which is being made into a movie), a functionary from the Empire visits the foundation and gives a long-winded speech. Which is then analyzed, and determined to say absolutely nothing.

    Bored Lawyer (7b72ec)

  18. Looking forward to the Foundation movies.

    Paul Montagu (a50d97)

  19. I was very disappointed to learn that Asimov was a supporter of a one-world government (to be led by the brightest scientists, I’m sure).

    This brings to mind William F. Buckley’s profound quote about preferring to be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book rather than the faculty of Harvard University.

    norcal (a5428a)

  20. OK Karen

    beer ‘n pretzels (27da31)

  21. Off the top of my head: To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest would not be unacceptable under the new rules. The remarkable friendship between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo wouldn’t have been as exquisitely told as seen in the film by white screenwriter, Willim Blinn, and Kathryn Blockett’s bestselling book “The Help” wouldn’t have been made into an even bigger blockbuster film, etc., etc.

    Dana (292df6)

  22. Yet another reason to ban Huck Finn. Also, we need to redact the 13th and 14th Amendments because it was White People talking about slavery!

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  23. I was very disappointed to learn that Asimov was a supporter of a one-world government (to be led by the brightest scientists, I’m sure).

    Worked out pretty poorly for the Foundation in the end.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  24. Not to be confused with the “there are no people of color in your story” complaint.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  25. “A functionary from the Empire visits the foundation and gives a long-winded speech. Which is then analyzed, and determined to say absolutely nothing.”
    __ _

    “You answered without saying anything. That’s politics”
    Jackson Bentley – Lawrence Of Arabia

    _

    harkin (784deb)

  26. Rao is not even the protected kind of Brown, her aunty Judge Neomi needs to slap some sense into her.

    urbanleftbehind (d1dee5)

  27. Since I finished the final draft I’ve been catching up on the streaming services. And blessed football this weekend. Foundation looks pretty good…maybe. Apple is going to through all the monies at it, so it will at least look good.

    Raised by Wolves on HBOMax started slow, but by the third episode it had at least mostly built the universe, and doing it 3-2-2… for 10 episodes hopefully won’t drag like some of these. It’s been pretty good, Ridley Scott and all. N

    Ted Lasso on AppleTV+ is fantastic. It’s a remake of Major League, sort of, but it’s funny, heartwarming, just enough cheese to enhance the flavor…[chef’s kiss]

    Away on Netflix, didn’t like it, This is us with really, and I mean really, bad science. My wife watched it and I listened and she told me to get out after about the 35th time I said “the speed of light doesn’t work like that” or “that’s not how gravity works”, “that’s not how you build a back-up system”. In this universe NASA is full of really dumb people [spoiler–except for Terry who left for silicon valley before the show started]. Oh, and a teen romance.

    The Boy’s on Amazon, raunchy dumb superhero show, I’ve only watched the first two of this season, It’s made for the 20 year old me, and the 5—uhhwhat? me too.

    Re-watching 19-2 because it’s my favorite and my wife hadn’t seen it, same with the Magician’s.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  28. I’ll vouchsafe this much for Ms. Rao: she’s effectively used trollish indignation to advance herself way beyond what her limited talents and meager intellect would otherwise portend. And as far as I know she’s managed to do it without the cozy sinecure of a faculty appointment in a gender or race studies department.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  29. if Rao will be following up her directive with a tweet telling black and brown people to not write about white people?

    Of course not. Just because all white people are racist oppressors doesn’t mean that people of color can’t speak their truth!

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. @6. Shakespeare?

    Has she ever listened to Amos.

    Or Andy? 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  31. This woman’s bloviation is a perfect example of why social media are destructive.

    Say something idiotic, and become instantly famous!

    And now, the idiotic thing you said was said by someone famous, making it seem important and encouraging others to say more idiotic things.

    Dave (1bb933)

  32. While I agree with you, Dave, I think it’s important to publicly push back hard against the idiocy, and not concede even an inch of rational ground.

    Dana (292df6)

  33. I have bad news for you: Most Jim Crow racists did jump to the Republicans, at least nationally.

    Name 6. The only Southern Democrat Senators to switch from D or R in the period in question were Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. Many segregationist Democrats left office rather than submit. Eastland, Stennis, ThurmondFulbright, McClellan, Sparkman, Russell, Talmadge, Sam Ervin, Long, Gore (sr), Byrd and the other Byrd all voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which adequately marks them as segregationists. Only switched parties.

    Here’s a list of segregationists during the Civil Rights era, VERY few Republicans, then or later
    Dale Alford, United States Representative of Arkansas (Democrat)
    Taddy Aycock, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Ross Barnett, Governor of Mississippi (Democrat).
    Bill Beeny
    Hale Boggs, United States Representative of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Albert Boutwell, Lieutenant Governor of Alabama (Democrat).
    Bryant Bowles, white supremacist organizer in Florida.
    Parey Branton, State Representative of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Overton Brooks, United States Representative of Louisiana (Democrat).
    William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review editor (Republican).
    C. Farris Bryant, Governor of Florida (Democrat).
    Garland T. Byrd, Lieutenant Governor of Georgia (Democrat).
    Harry F. Byrd, Governor and U.S. senator of Virginia (Democrat).
    Harry F. Byrd, Jr., U.S. senator of Virginia (Democrat-turned-Independent).
    Robert Byrd, United States Senator, West Virginia (Democrat).
    Howard “Bo” Callaway, United States Representative, Georgia (Republican).
    Francis Cherry, Governor of Arkansas (Democrat).
    Kent Courtney, activist from Louisiana (Democrat-turned-Independent).
    Jimmie Davis, Governor of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Vail M. Delony, Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Lake Providence (Democrat).
    Wickliffe Draper
    James Eastland, United States Senator, Mississippi (Democrat).
    Allen J. Ellender, United States Senator, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Jerry Falwell, conservative evangelist (Republican).
    Clyde Fant, Mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Orval Faubus, Governor of Arkansas (Democrat).
    William Fulbright, United States Senator, Arkansas (Democrat).
    John Sidney Garrett, State Representative, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Peter Zack Geer, Lieutenant Governor of Georgia (Democrat).
    James H. Gray, Sr., Georgia Democratic state chairman.
    Marvin Griffin, Governor of Georgia (Democrat).
    Jack P.F. Gremillion, Attorney General of Louisiana (Democrat).
    F. Edward Hebert, U.S. representative from Louisiana (Democrat).
    Jesse Helms, United States Senator, North Carolina (Democrat 1942-1970, Republican 1970-2008).
    Lister Hill, United States Senator, Alabama (Democrat).
    Orville L. Hubbard, Mayor, Dearborn, Michigan.
    Wellborn Jack, State Representative of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Shelby M. Jackson, Superintendent of Public Education, Louisiana (Democrat).
    James D. Johnson, Arkansas Supreme Court justice (Democrat).
    Paul B. Johnson, Jr., Governor of Mississippi (Democrat).
    J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., United States Senator, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Bob Jones, Sr., Evangelist.
    B. Everett Jordan, United States Senator, North Carolina (Democrat).
    Robert F. Kennon, Governor of Louisiana (Democrat).
    James J. Kilpatrick, Columnist, Virginia (Democrat)
    Russell B. Long, United States Senator, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Speedy O. Long, United States Representative, Louisiana (Democrat).
    Trent Lott, U.S. Senator, (Republican)
    Charlton Lyons, State Chairman, Louisiana Republican Party.
    Lester Maddox, Governor of Georgia (Democrat, American Independent).
    James D. Martin, United States Representative, Alabama (Republican).
    John McClellan, United States Senator, Arkansas (Democrat).
    John McKeithen, Governor of Louisiana (Democrat).
    Harold Montgomery, Louisiana state senator (Democrat)
    Danny Roy Moore, Louisiana state senator (Democrat)
    deLesseps Story Morrison, Mayor of New Orleans (Democrat)
    W. Lee O’Daniel, Governor of Texas (Democrat)
    John H. Overton, U.S. senator from Louisiana (Democrat)
    Otto Passman, U.S. representative from northeastern Louisiana (Democrat)
    John Malcolm Patterson, Governor of Alabama (Democrat)
    Dave L. Pearce, Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner (Democrat)
    Leander Perez, Louisiana judge (Democrat)
    Rubel Phillips, Mississippi lawyer (Republican)
    William M. Rainach, Louisiana state senator (Democrat)
    John Rarick, United States Representative of Louisiana (Democrat, Independent, American Independent)
    A. Willis Robertson, U.S. senator from Virginia (Democrat)
    Richard B. Russell, U.S. senator from Georgia (Democrat)
    Victor Schiro, Mayor of New Orleans (Democrat)
    George W. Shannon, Louisiana journalist
    Gerald L. K. Smith, evangelist from Louisiana and Arkansas (Demorat)
    Howard W. Smith, United States Representative from Virginia (Democrat).
    John Sparkman, U.S. senator from Alabama (Democrat)
    John C. Stennis, United States Senator from Mississippi (Democrat).
    Ford E. Stinson, State Representative of Louisiana (Democrat).
    J. B. Stoner, Georgia political candidate (Democrat).
    Herman Talmadge, U.S. senator from Georgia (Democrat).
    A. Roswell Thompson, Louisiana political candidate (Democrat)
    Strom Thurmond, Governor and U.S. senator from South Carolina (Democrat, States’ Rights Democrat, Republican)
    Ned Touchstone, Louisiana journalist and printer (Democrat)
    Joe D. Waggonner, United States Representative of Louisiana (Democrat)
    George C. Wallace (Democrat, American Independent)
    Albert W. Watson (Democrat-turned-Republican)
    John Bell Williams, Governor of Mississippi (Democrat)
    Edwin E. Willis, United States Representative of Louisiana (Democrat)
    Fielding L. Wright, Governor of Mississippi (Democrat)

    http://self.gutenberg.org/articles
    /list_of_segregationists_during_the_american_civil_rights_movement_(1955-1968)

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  34. *Only switched parties.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. Willis was pat robertsons father walter george was kerry srs employer

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  36. Jimmy Carter won his gubernatorial nomination by attacking his opponent as being too close to black radicals like Dr King. Called Sanders “Julian Bond’s candidate”, which is reather more than a dog whistle.

    https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/the-political-grudge-carl-sanders-takes-his-grave/pkv07kyoXFdg3rEI9OrlwI/

    Coming into the 1970 election, Carter got research showing that Sanders was vulnerable to suggestions that he was too eager to achieve racial equality. According to a story written then by Atlanta Constitution political editor Bill Shipp, Carter’s pollster wrote a memo: “Carter’s present supporters feel more concerned about high taxes, integration coming too fast, changing the present welfare system than do voters in general. These are issues of Nixon’s forgotten man.”
    Shipp noted that before entering the race, Carter scribbled notes on a legal pad concerning ways to attack Sanders: “Atlanta oriented … pretty boy … excluded George Wallace from state … referred to as Julian Bond’s candidate.” Bond was a black civil rights activist turned controversial legislator.

    Shipp noted that Carter himself never alluded to race, “but mysteriously, thousands of leaflets cropped up all over the state in parsonage mailboxes, barber shops and beauty salons linking Sanders socially with Negroes.”

    The real zinger was a photo of Sanders, then part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, a team he helped bring to the city, getting a champagne shampoo from a black player during a celebration.

    “Carter had that reproduced and had that sent all over the state (with the underlying message,) ‘Here’s Carl Sanders making love with the blacks,’” Sanders said. “He hoodwinked enough people to make them believe he would (work to undermine integration).”

    Sanders also noted that he attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral, but that “Jimmy Carter didn’t show up.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. Sorry for the digression, but a slap-down was in order.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  38. Confidential to Richard Bach: White people need to stop writing seagull characters.

    beer ‘n pretzels (994467)

  39. This is one of the things that drives me buggy. Strip out the terms of art specific to identity studies and I see a reasonable complaint:
    POC who write stories about POC get short shift. Publishers don’t want to buy those stories and when they do they don’t support them as well with marketing etc. When white people write stories about POC they get the contracts and support.
    Could be a self-fulfilling prophesy. POC stories get less support because they do poorly, so don’t put too much support into them because there won’t be a pay-off.
    But I have no earthly idea what to do about it. White people only writing white people leads to 2 problems.
    1. People should be able to write about whatever they like.
    2. Fewer POC characters and stories is a whole different complaint.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  40. Write interesting stuff and it will sell. Write dreary pedagogical or didactic crap and you’ll have to self-publish.

    OTOH, I’m having problems placing Hamilton in this.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  41. Only serial killers can write about serial killers.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  42. When conservatives point out that Democrats are the historical party of segregation, the left squeals that all the racists left the Democrat Party and went to the Republican Party.

    When I read stories like this, I know that is simply not true.

    The left inhabits the party of segregation – always has, always will.

    Hoi Polloi (dc4124) — 9/15/2020 @ 4:34 pm

    Leftists weren’t the ones burning crosses in the early to mid 20th century.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  43. So here’s my question to Rao: What did you do in the decade that you worked in publishing to change the landscape? Because what I see is a woman whose alleged principles were set aside in order to make money off of a corrupt system that discriminates against women of color. Doesn’t that make you…complicit???

    Dana (292df6) — 9/15/2020 @ 4:08 pm

    Dana, usually love your comments but I think you’re off base on this.

    Time123 (c9382b)

  44. 42. You sure about that? I think that largely depends on what you mean by “leftists.” If by “conservative” you mean folks that have a tendancy to resist change and cheer for tradition, then yes, small-c “conservative” southerners were the party of segregation and violence.

    BUT…

    The Ku Klux Klan was founded specifically to terrorize newly freed blacks in order to keep them from running for office (as Republicans) and voting (for Republicans). When their particular brand of down-home southern (and, let’s face it, large-D “Democratic”) terrorism failed, they turned to the town commissions, city councillors, and state legislatures still smarting from the south’s defeat in the war, and it was these legislators who passed Jim Crow laws. Legislatures where Democrats vastly outnumbered Republicans.

    Gryph (f63000)

  45. It just shows lack of imagination, saira is one track pony, some scribes are better than others paul monette who novelized scarface, and the card board cutouts therein were terrible, ill leave out both abrahams and pacinos accents ftb

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  46. So they scared enough black voters to affect the count in florida mississippi and the like. The bourbon democrats used that shortfall to claim fraud hence the 1877 compact

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  47. saira rao
    @sairasameerarao
    ·
    Aug 18
    I will vote for Biden *only* bc he isn’t Trump. There are people who won’t bc they’re sick of the Dems eschewing basic human rights – healthcare, housing, education – for corporate gain & white supremacy.

    Shaming these people into voting won’t work and is disgusting.

    https://twitter.com/sairasameerarao/status/1295731011876077568

    Hard to believe she isn’t a regular commenter here.

    BuDuh (b46d68)

  48. Now take midnight children, its a wonder they didnt hang rushdie in effigy even before satanic verses.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  49. Same could be said for the writer of the specialist, rod steiger and eric roberts hay yay yay.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  50. While I agree with you, Dave, I think it’s important to publicly push back hard against the idiocy, and not concede even an inch of rational ground.

    Ah, the idealism of youth! :)

    Life’s too short to take on every idiot on the internet. Of course we all choose the hills we think are worth fighting on.

    I would argue people like her should just be ridiculed and forgotten.

    Dave (1bb933)

  51. The other dana, fileted her something fierce some months ago.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  52. The thing is try to make the character authentic, among other things steiger and co talked too slowly.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  53. Time123 (c9382b) — 9/15/2020 @ 6:30 pm

    I’d really like to understand what a good POC story is supposed to be. I still see a lot of tokenism or I see a POC character in a role that could be played by any race. Season 2 of Altered Carbon had POC for all of the primary cast correct? But it’s not a POC story. Maybe that’s a bad example given the context of the show. The casting for The Expanse probably fits this as well but the closest it comes to being POC is dealing with issues of class and something akin to caste. Maybe SciFi isn’t a good test of this. I thought the Murphy/Dolomite movie was more substantial than it might seem on the surface but I don’t personally know anyone else who agrees with me. I very much enjoyed the movie. But it was a biopic and it, at best, might point to good POC stories. The by black people for black people sort of stories referenced in Dolomite aren’t currently acceptable much less marketable.

    frosty (f27e97)

  54. “The Wire” had a mostly black cast, and it kicked ass!

    norcal (a5428a)

  55. I read altered carbon yes sleiving makes ethnic categories beside the point, the expanse has elements of a western with apace opera.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  56. Its an interesting pecking order (the writers worked for george rr martin) the earth president is indian the leader of the outer bloc is african american. (It may not have been written that way)

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  57. 33. Lol OK, but maybe not the smackdown you think.

    First, I said Jim Crow racists, not Jim Crow politicians. That means everyone. Look at the electoral college maps starting whenever, but let’s say FDR. The core Jim Crow south is solidly Democrat from 1932 to 1964 — gee, what happened that year? — when suddenly it goes GOP. Next come the ’68 Dixicrats, GOP again in ’72, and except for the Carter hiccup, GOP ever since.

    So there’s that.

    That’s all I was saying, but if you want to talk politicians, who I agree were much slower to come around to the Southern Strategy than their constituents, I can’t help noticing that your list of prominent segregationists, which I assume was someone else’s handiwork, looks purpose driven. On one hand, I never heard of most of those people. On the other, some pretty important names are conspicuously missing. Life’s too short to make my own list, but off the top of my head, what happened to Thad Cochran, Mills Godwin, John Tower, and if we’re mentioning people marked as segregationist by their votes against the CRA (your words), Barry Goldwater? No doubt there are many more — the top of my head tends to be far less than comprehensive — but that’ll do for now.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  58. Dems deconstructed every institution as if it was jim crow, so there is nothing solid in their firmament not flag family of faith

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  59. Goldwater was more civil rights conscious than many dems, he just didnt want the govt dictating what became quotas humphrey never did eat his hat.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  60. @53 Klink might be able to speak more to this, but IMO a good POC story is like any other good story, you have to be able to look from the character’s viewpoint. To do that, again IMO, you have to find an “in” into the other person’s viewpoint. If you are working with another culture, that can be hard, especially if you go into it as frex, “I Am Writing About A Person Of Color”. There are also quirks of culture that you know if you are part of it, but not if you aren’t, so those can also be challenging. I would have a very hard time writing a native New Yorker who had never lived anywhere else and I probably wouldn’t even try for a native New Yorker of a different religious and ethnic background., because I just wouldn’t have enough of an “in”. But you also have to market it right because the audience that isn’t a specific ethnic group is bigger than the audience that is a specific ethnic group.

    Nic (896fdf)

  61. As usually happens, that devolved into minutia that miss the forest for the trees. Here’s the point in a nutshell:

    Until the sixties, how did African-Americans vote? GOP. How did the Klan and their ilk vote? Democrat.

    Since the sixties, how have African-Americans voted? Democrat. How has the Klan and their ilk voted? GOP.

    We can argue all day over which is cause and which is effect, but the simple fact is this: When African Americans were on one side, the people who hated African-Americans were on the other. At some point, and again we can argue over exactly when and how quickly it happened (though the 1964 CRA was clearly a catalyst), they traded sides. Try finding an alt-right, Stormfront, or Daily Stormer racist who voted Obama, then tell me I’m wrong.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  62. Ah, the idealism of youth!

    Well I’m taking that as a compliment!

    Life’s too short to take on every idiot on the internet. Of course we all choose the hills we think are worth fighting on.

    I would argue people like her should just be ridiculed and forgotten.

    Dave (1bb933) — 9/15/2020 @ 7:30 pm

    If she were just one person pushing this nonsense on the Internet, I would ignore it. But it isn’t. We know that this kind of thinking is pervasive in our culture, and has been incorporated into school curricula, textbooks, workplace trainings, private and public entities, and everything in between. So it seems to me that it’s worth making noise about. Even if it might be too little, too late.

    Dana (292df6)

  63. Nic (896fdf) — 9/15/2020 @ 8:16 pm

    What is a good example of this done well?

    In your New Yorker example what is good enough? If the NYer who had never been anywhere else is in a fish out of water story is the extra effort of getting this “in” even essential to the story? If you followed this rule to its logical conclusion the number of people in stories not from the northeast or west coast would be severely restricted. You’d be left with the 5 characters from every John Grisham novel.

    frosty (f27e97)

  64. If she were just one person pushing this nonsense on the Internet, I would ignore it. But it isn’t. We know that this kind of thinking is pervasive in our culture, and has been incorporated into school curricula, textbooks, workplace trainings, private and public entities, and everything in between.

    Yep, I agree 100% with Dana. Ten years ago I was saying, “Well, this sort of stuff is just the rantings of the more fervid minds of academic grievance studies.” Then seven years ago I was saying, “Well, this stuff is just silly campus posturing egged on by cowardly left-wing administrators and weak-minded undergraduates.” Then five years ago I was saying, “Well, this stuff is just academia, the media, and Hollywood doing what academia, the media, and Hollywood do.” Then three years ago I found myself saying, “Well, this sort of stuff is just what all Democrats are doing to assuage their butt-hurt for having blown the 2016 election.” Now I’m more and more realizing that the sort of garbage that Rao peddles is for better or worse progressive orthodoxy that has seeped through every aspect of our daily lives.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  65. I’m in the Cloud Cuckoo Land brigade, John Dickson Carr battalion, philosophy of fiction, myself. Or as somebody put it, a plausible impossibility is better than a mundane-as-mud probability. (I think that was me, just now, actually.) When people say how “realistic” a piece of fiction is, I suspect that they’re either vicarious voyeurs content with peeking through the windows of ordinary people like themselves (Meh!) or the author succeeded in altering, if only temporarily, their personal view of Reality (Yay!).

    nk (1d9030)

  66. lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/15/2020 @ 8:25 pm

    Try finding an alt-right, Stormfront, or Daily Stormer racist who voted Obama, then tell me I’m wrong.

    Richard Spencer endorsed Biden so maybe there’s another shift in the wind.

    frosty (f27e97)

  67. And jason kessler was with obama just a few years before, james burnham buckleys chief geopolitical atrategist was a trotskyite william bullitt was on the far left but his experience in stalins war changed him.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  68. Nero wolfe was central european (montenegro?) I dont think rex stout had much of that, there are other examples.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  69. The blob is swallowing up everything dana, and proper proper behavior like punctuality is deemed white.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  70. The ‘anti-racism’ and ‘critical race theory’ folks are all Dems.

    They argue that expecting blacks to show up for work on time or be judged by merit is not fair.

    In effect, they are saying blacks cannot show up to work on time nor compete by merit.

    These are the same beliefs held by members of the ‘KKK and their ilk’.

    BUt tHe gOP Is RAcisT!
    _

    harkin (064346)

  71. Avery brooks (captain sisko) was asked at a sci fi conference, how did he play him (this was back some years) he answered as a man.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  72. Bolivar di griz (7404b5) — 9/15/2020 @ 9:06 pm

    Well, we are just whistling by Rev. Wright, Farrakhan, and that whole merry band of merry anti-semites. Maybe if no one says anything it won’t come up and we can all ignore it.

    frosty (f27e97)

  73. I know thats probably heteropatriarchal of him. Gah.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  74. Nero Wolfe is a good example of the plausible impossibility. Closer to the topic, Charlie Chan was the creation of Ohio-born, Harvard alumnus (got his start on The Lampoon), Earl Derr Biggers.

    nk (1d9030)

  75. Of course, you forgot ‘resist we much’ was baldwin as insufferable as coates or dyson,

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  76. Of course there is one series that has him as italian (not improbable) sax rohmer is said to have painted denizens of limehouse too dimly.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  77. I just remembered that Robert Heinlein had his problem with a lady editor back in his “Young Adult” period. Without looking up the details, it was over guns and the right to bear same, and she had him alter his manuscript so much that he requested that she be included as co-author.

    nk (1d9030)

  78. 66.

    1. Spenser’s endorsement stinks to high heaven. It smells like.. what would you call a far right moby?

    2. Biden immediately and categorically rejected it, not what one would do if the alt-right were part of his constituency (Cf., Trump, Donald J.)

    3. I said Obama, not Biden. (I’ll let that one slide.)

    4. The reason it’s so fishy is that it’s diametrically opposed to the position of virtually every person like Spencer who isn’t Spenser. It is, as they say, the exception that proves the rule.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  79. That doesnt make any sense, it wouldnt be heinlein. Now verhoeven casting filipinos as 90210 2070 that was just wrong.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  80. Yeah, the Spencer “endorsement” was totally Trump camp dirty tricks, emphasis on “camp”.

    nk (1d9030)

  81. The new version of total recall shows verhoeven had a clue then, i suppose kate beckinsale is a trade up from sharon stone.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  82. Leonard wiseman her ex??directed that one.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  83. More often than not, Black, Indigenous and brown writers do not get to tell their own stories.

    White people not writing about black characters is not going to cause any non- white people to do.

    And wasn’t the problem yesterday that black characters did not appear in movies or television commercials?

    And by the way, I don;t think you want the real story, anyway. You want lies which you will claim to be the real story.

    Sammy Finkelman (42d229)

  84. 61. lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/15/2020 @ 8:25 pm

    Since the sixties, how have African-Americans voted? Democrat.

    Since about 1934. They were starting to revert a little back to the Republican Party until John F. Kennedy sort of endorsed Civil Rights in the 1960 campaign.

    How has the Klan and their ilk voted? GOP.

    That took time, but started with Goldwater in 1964 because he had voted against the 1964 Civil Rights bill (on legal grounds)

    We can argue all day over which is cause and which is effect, but the simple fact is this: When African Americans were on one side, the people who hated African-Americans were on the other. At some point, and again we can argue over exactly when and how quickly it happened (though the 1964 CRA was clearly a catalyst), they traded sides.

    For awhile they were on the ame side or in the same party anyway.

    Sammy Finkelman (42d229)

  85. @63 You have to have an in. IMO If the fish out of water is your in then you can do it, but you’ll have to be careful of the details or you’ll throw people out of the story. A couple examples of that in things I’ve recently read:

    1. Story is set in the PacNorWest. Poison ivy was a significant worry due to a scarring poison ivy experience in childhood (in the PacNorWest). Poison ivy isn’t a thing out here.

    2. Character In England goes out horseback riding on a reasonable day for horseback riding, dressed in appropriately warm clothing (coat, etc), it hasn’t been particularly cold. Gets about 1/2 hr or 45 min into his ride. A snow storm descends. Turns around to go back, does not get lost. Author has character slogging through snow that is giving his horse trouble to walk through and he nearly freezes to death. This is not a thing that happens. (author from Australia, I assume not much experience with snow and/or cold.)

    3. There’s a military teen whose never been to a civilian school. Um, in the states, there are very few bases that have a DODDS school and not in the places this kid lived. Because of this, according to the author, the teenager had never talked to a civilian child before. Dear God. This was a wall-banger in case you are interested.

    4. I often have trouble when a non-Catholic author writes religious Catholics. Not always, but often.

    Nic (896fdf)

  86. (forgot to close my italics, sorry, they should’ve closed after “…child before.”)

    Nic (896fdf)

  87. 60. Nic (896fdf) — 9/15/2020 @ 8:16 pm

    But you also have to market it right because the audience that isn’t a specific ethnic group is bigger than the audience that is a specific ethnic group.

    Alexandria Ocasio’s Cortez’ publishing venture flopped. She didn’t even publish a single (children’s) book.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez

    She later launched Brook Avenue Press, a now-defunct publishing firm for books that portrayed the Bronx in a positive light.[33][34]

    https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/diverse-group-startups-thriving-city-sponsored-sunshine-bronx-business-incubator-hunts-point-article-1.1115489

    Sunshine Bronx startups have exchanged roughly $200,000 for services and support, he claimed. They also swap free advice.
    “You see a huge return on your investment here,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 22, who recently launched Brook Avenue Press, a publishing firm for books that portray the Bronx in a positive light. “People pay $500 an hour for consulting that we get for free by the water cooler.”

    I don’t think anything she might have been considering would have appealed even to her target audience – if she actually got around to looking for writers and books or knew how to do it ad how to get them out there..

    She knew how to get help from the government but it wasn’t enough. Maybe if she could have gotten a commitment from public schools to buy whatever she would publish.

    Sammy Finkelman (42d229)

  88. 57. lurker (d8c5bc) — 9/15/2020 @ 7:52 pm

    The core Jim Crow south is solidly Democrat from 1932 to 1964

    I think you mean the deep south, and that was not true in 1948. Although Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ran as “State’s Rights” Democrat. They bolted from the Democratic Party after t adopted a Civil Rights platform, and were colloquially called Dixiecrats.

    They returned in 1952, when Adlai Stevenson had a segregationist Senator on his ticket for Vice president. That was before it became a major issue, which happened in 1954.

    Sammy Finkelman (42d229)

  89. Meanwhile in Minneapolis…..

    Just months after leading an effort that would have defunded the police department, City Council members at Tuesday’s work session pushed chief Medaria Arradondo to tell them how the department is responding to the violence.

    The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2019, according to MPD crime data. More people have been killed in the city in the first nine months of 2020 than were slain in all of last year. Property crimes, like burglaries and auto thefts, are also up. Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent over the total at this point in 2019.”

    With violent crime on the rise in Mpls., City Council asks: Where are the police?

    https://www.mprnews.org/amp/story/2020/09/15/with-violent-crime-on-the-rise-in-mpls-city-council-asks-where-are-the-police?
    __

    Who could have foreseen this??
    _

    harkin (820d1b)

  90. @85 and one other

    I’ve written 11 stories that have been published in a few of the compendium journals of hard military scifi. Obviously with my current day job, modern military fiction would be problematic, that, and I’m a white guy. I can actually write black american soldier stories pretty well, having commanded, and been friends with hundreds both in college sports ball, as well as in big green, plus some JSOC for a while with Navy and Marine units all with significant African/Latino component. When you’re in, there’s only a couple stories, so we all are nearly interchangeable as a story post 9/11.

    I don’t get women enough, my wife would concur, but women in the military are a special thing. In my experience they are tougher, mostly meaner, and when a situation happened where the physical limitations existed, they were the best team members to function in semper gumby mode. The men wanted structure, details, and sets of if this then that, when that wasn’t possible, I’d rather roll with the ladies and JSOC has built up a number of very good mixed teams.

    So I write speculative future mil scifi, I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple of things bought for stories in shows on SyFy and Spaced in Canada, and worked with Kevin Smith on a think that never ended up happening. But with future/space not having to deal with today’s issues, gives you a lot of flexibility. If the year is 2200, you can assume racism was left in the compost heap of hister 100 years before, and if it has space component, the POC have 3 eyes and stand 11 feet tall, or a made of metal. You can kind of ignore the current problems and focus on the humanity of this particular human who happens to be tan, vs this other human who is brown. Makes it easier.

    I’d hate to have to write a story that was focused on Sex and Racism of the 1950, I know when I watch Lovecraft Country, they are absolutely a bunch of white men creating POC based characters with real thought, feel, and express the ennui of their characters inner thoughts, now they have actors and others to help them, but it’s still a genius level of a show.

    Me, I’m not good, so if it’s a thousand years in the future, most of the painful social things of today have been replaced, with new ones I’ve invented in my brain. It’s make believe.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  91. Good stuff, Colonel.

    Regarding Kevin Smith, Adam Carolla, whom I listen to frequently, does not have nice things to say about him.

    norcal (a5428a)

  92. White people need to stop writing Black and brown characters.

    This is just an ignorant way to restate; “write what you know.”

    Do you you wanna know what I think made “Blazing Saddles” so funny? Richard Pryor.

    “Hey slick, I heard you was hung!”

    “And they was right!”

    felipe (023cc9)

  93. “Blog” 15 years ago?

    Was it something on Livejournal?

    Xmas (eafb47)

  94. @63 You have to have an in. IMO If the fish out of water is your in then you can do it, but you’ll have to be careful of the details or you’ll throw people out of the story. A couple examples of that in things I’ve recently read:

    1. Story is set in the PacNorWest. Poison ivy was a significant worry due to a scarring poison ivy experience in childhood (in the PacNorWest). Poison ivy isn’t a thing out here.

    2. Character In England goes out horseback riding on a reasonable day for horseback riding, dressed in appropriately warm clothing (coat, etc), it hasn’t been particularly cold. Gets about 1/2 hr or 45 min into his ride. A snow storm descends. Turns around to go back, does not get lost. Author has character slogging through snow that is giving his horse trouble to walk through and he nearly freezes to death. This is not a thing that happens. (author from Australia, I assume not much experience with snow and/or cold.)

    3. There’s a military teen whose never been to a civilian school. Um, in the states, there are very few bases that have a DODDS school and not in the places this kid lived. Because of this, according to the author, the teenager had never talked to a civilian child before. Dear God. This was a wall-banger in case you are interested.

    4. I often have trouble when a non-Catholic author writes religious Catholics. Not always, but often.

    Nic (896fdf) — 9/15/2020 @ 10:18 p

    m

    Check out the Reddit Men Writing Women.

    It’s funny.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  95. 84.

    For awhile they were on the ame side or in the same party anyway.
    Sammy Finkelman (42d229) — 9/15/2020 @ 10:17 pm

    The resorting process wasn’t instantaneous, so sure, some of them would have to be. But like shaking a jar of oil and water, you can force them into a suspension, but inevitably they separate.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

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