My Statement on Black Lives Matter, and What We Can Do Together
Hi everyone. The world is... quite a thing right now.
I wanted to make a statement on the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others because of undue force by the police. First and foremost I, and the staff of 17th Shard, stand behind Black Lives Matter, and we as a community do not stand for discrimination of any kind: by race, sex, gender identity, and many others not enumerated here. Check out our Code of Conduct on our expectations, and how to report issues.
I am disturbed by these deaths, as I imagine you are as well, and want things to change. But, talk is cheap, you know? I'm white. There's a lot of white people on this site and in the fandom. So that made me think, what can I do to deal with systemic racism? What can we all, together, do to combat this? If you'll excuse me, I'd like to opine about that. I understand that you come here to discuss books and not systemic racism, and that's fair. But, I think it is important to sit with the inherent discomfort that comes with confronting systemic racism from a position of privilege--too often important voices are silenced in the name of keeping things "comfortable." Now is the moment to consider what can be done to support those who have been subjected to continual injustices through no fault of their own.
We need to confront the fact that privilege and racism are real. The stories people of color are telling about police brutality are real. We who fall into the privileged category need to listen to understand the experiences of people of color, and use what we hear to challenge and deconstruct long held habits and ways of thinking. It is also our responsibility to seek out and share resources created by people of color that are already available--too often does the role of educator get added to the shoulders of those who carry the direct burden created by injustice, regardless of whether they wish to fill the position or not. Listening is important, but the purpose is defeated if people feel obliged to speak, instead of doing so because they choose to do so.
Of course, listening and learning only go so far--clear action must also be taken. So, what can I do? What can we do?
- Protesting is great. There is a wealth of information available on the internet about remaining safe at protests (including staying safe from COVID). Know your rights. Stay safe.
- Donating is great. There are many charitable organizations that advocate and work towards criminal justice reform and removing racial inequity. If you're in the financial position that would allow you to donate, I'd encourage you to do so. I will be donating, myself. I think we can make a difference together. Links are below.
- Supporting writers of color is great. We’re all here because we enjoy fantasy books, right? There are some fantastic black authors out there. Sci-fi/fantasy as a genre is still predominantly filled by white writers, and the stories written by people of color often don’t receive as much attention as they deserve. There are some incredible books out there, many which star characters from a diverse variety of racial backgrounds. Tell you friends about them, share your copy, find more authors to add to your list of favorites.
This is only a start, of course. Racial inequities have existed for centuries and a few donations aren't going to make that go away. In some respects all of this is far too late given how much damage has been done, and how many lives have been lost. It is, however, not nothing. A late start is better than no start. But what we do now is not the destination, but the start of a journey towards that destination of equality.
Listen to those who have been ignored. Remember those who have been lost.
Here are some great resources, information, charities, and black authors. Apologies for the link spam.
Sharing Black Voices
- Welcome To The Anti-Racism Movement — Here’s What You’ve Missed
- White People: I Don’t Want You To Understand Me Better, I Want You To Understand Yourselves
- Dismantling Racism Works
- Amber Ruffin Shares a Lifetime of Traumatic Run-Ins with Police
Staying Safe at Protests
- Amnesty International Safety During Protest Fact Sheet
- Protesters’ Rights
- Coronavirus FAQs: How To Stay Safe While Protesting, When To Go Out After Recovery
Where to Donate to Make a Difference
- Black Lives Matter
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Campaign Zero
- The Brennan Center For Justice
- The Bail Project
- The Southern Poverty Law Center
Thanks to many people for these great recommendations I wanted to share, and I myself need to read this summer.
- Black History Month: What's New in Sci-Fi and Fantasy
- 11 Amazing Science Fiction Books by Black Authors
- Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors You Need to Read
Lastly, there's a huge Google sheet with tons more resources and advice.