The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Back to Perry

"And you still danced around my point -- black folks weren't invited to the literature, but they also weren't invited to the lunch counters, the front of the bus, the all-white schools and the white-only water fountains. They went anyway."

1) because they HAD to have doctors and lawyers, or the community would die. Sf wasn't as pressing a need.
2) You can pass medical and law school by objective knowledge of facts. The subjective judgements of teachers doesn't impact as much as the subjective judgements of editors and readers. What someone enjoys is PURELY subjective, and that "disconnect" then reduces the amoutn of money earned, which in turn makes it harder to succeed--a steeper hill. Fewer would want to try to climb it. In other words, I'm saying that there are so few black or Asian SF writers for the same reason that:

1) Black and Asian males don't have much sex in movies.
2) No hourlong dramatic television series starred a non-Caucasian until "Deep Space Nine."
3) Only one Non-Caucasian won a "Best Actor or Actress" Oscar in the 20th Century
4) No non-Caucasian has ever won a "Best novel" Hugo.
5) Traditionally, Black or brown men would die to protect white folks in films, but not the other way around.

6) There were no images of blacks in Disney theatricals during the entire 20th century

A simple phenomenon of human consciousness that manifests in thousands of little ways. In the aggregate, they help to explain the persistent gap in life expectancy, income, education, and incarceration rates. I AM NOT SAYING THESE SOCIAL FACTORS ARE THE ONLY REASONS FOR THESE THINGS: that would make me 100% "nurture", which I am not. But I see so little reasoned discussion, possibly because this stuff is so difficult to quantify. Ah...but if you look at the box-office statistics concerning black and white sexuality, I think an undeniable pattern emerges, and we can use that as a wedge to enter other realms of discussion...

My theory is elegant in the sense that
1) it is predictive. For twenty years I've been able to predict the failure of feature films, way beyond probability, based upon sexual imagery.
2) It singles out no group for positive or negative characteristics.
3) It suggests a solution: vigilant consciousness against our tendency for complacency.
4) It asks no one to feel guilty for being who and what they are.
5) I believe that it raises the net amount of love and compassion in the world...we are all in this mess together.

to me, this stuff is all clustered.

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