Monday, May 18, 2009

Fen of Color United!

Why? Because diversity of experience and diversity of thought make for a more interesting future for everyone.

And because all these authors are awesome (just a sampling!), and wrote things that I would never have thought of otherwise.

There's a big live journal celebration going on today, go take a look!


Jonathan M said...

Um... "FOC U"?

Also "Fans of colour" suggests a group of people who like colour, but not necessarily people who are non-white.

It sounds like a group who think that fans should stop wearing black Tshirts :-)

Karen Burnham said...

Well, let's see. You know as well as I that this is part of a larger context, so the FOC U is definitely intentional. Lots of people appear to think that all/most sf/f fans are white, and today is a nice (arbitrary) day to give a shout-out to those who aren't.

Also, I'm not sure where you saw "Fans of color." "Fen of color" clearly rules out your misprison of the slogan.

Jonathan M said...

As for the "Foc U" I'm glad it's not accidental (though I'm not sure it's a particularly useful tone).

As for "Fen of Color" I think that's down to the fact that people in the UK don't really use the term "people of colour". We tend to say "black and ethnic minorities" so the slogan sounds funny to me and I'd associate it more easily with people being colourful or possibly Benetton than I would with racial issues.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that describing someone as being 'of colour' is probably seen as quite non-PC in the UK. I wouldn't use that term myself and I'm less sensitive than others.

However, I acknowledge that you are merely showing solidarity and I was merely teasing a little :-)

Karen Burnham said...

Thanks Jonathan! Yeah, terminology always gets tricky in these sorts of things, and it's exactly at that level where there are significant country-to-country community-to-community differences.

If it were all math we wouldn't have these sorts of problems... but then it would be boring. Can't have that!

Jonathan M said...

In the UK, describing a black person as an 'ethnic minority' is considered offensive as in places like London they're actually more numerous than white people.

The "people of color" thing is weird though as it not considered offensive to talk about someone being 'colored' or to talk about 'colored folk'? That's very 1950s.

You'd think that because of the history of the word people would steer clear of it plus it implies that white people aren't coloured which suggests a white-centric view of things whereby white is the default and then you have all of these other people.

I think Racefail is the only context in which I've heard 'people of color' used as the accepted form.

Karen Burnham said...

The way I see it, the important thing is how people self-identify. If I've got a friend who introduces himself as Uther Pendragon, by gum I will call him Uther until he tells me not to, even if his gov't ID says "Michael." (Not too far off a real friend of mine, actually.)

So if folks I support decide that the "of color" appellation suits them, that's what I'll go with. (BTW, from what I understand historically, the "of color" became popular in America in the 80s as a specific rejection of the 50s era "colored people." Certainly I've gotten the impression that these days the latter is offensive and the former isn't.)

Cheryl said...

This isn't a new issue. I remember getting a dressing down from China several years ago for using the "people of color" term. I told him to go talk to Nalo about US/UK differences, which solved everything.

It is also the case that in the US "disabled" is acceptable while "handicapped" is viewed as insulting, while in the UK the opposite is true.

Because I go back and fore a lot, I'm always getting into trouble with such things.