May 31st, 2011

wood cat

Dear WisCon people,

If we talked at any point for any length of time, please do feel free to introduce yourself and to link to any LJ/DW/blog/etc. you have. Comments are all screened. I have a sucky memory for many things, just one example of which is my post from last night, and I was existing in a haze of sleep deprivation and ticking-mental-to-do-list for much of the con.

My reading time is finite, so I cannot promise to subscribe to you, but whether I subscribe or track or bookmark to stop in every so often, it would make me really happy if you stopped by and said hi.

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wood cat

WisCon: How To Describe Nonwhite Characters Sans Fail

This panel took place late Saturday afternoon, after my "Vigorous Debate or Harassment?" panel, but I am posting it out of order because I will be referring to it in the set of panel reports that "Vigorous Debate" belongs to.

Description:

How do we get beyond "Her skin was the color of a delicious Coca-Cola?" What metaphors, similes, techniques, and descriptors are less problematic when describing nonwhite characters' physical bodies? (Starter link: http://www.kith.org/journals/jed/2009/06/12/12163.html)

M: Mary Doria Russell. K. Tempest Bradford, Moondancer Drake, Amal El-Mohtar, Sumana Harihareswara

Everyone on the panel but Mary Doria Russell was a person of color. I would estimate that K. Tempest Bradford, Amal El-Mohtar, and Sumana Harihareswara are all of roughly the same twenties-early-thirties generation; Moondancer Drake is maybe a half-generation older; and Mary Doria Russell is about sixty (per Wikipedia).

This report will be in three parts: an accuracy/nomenclature preface; notes on what was said at the panel; and follow-up thoughts.

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Also, the rest of the panel was interesting and useful as well, and I hope it doesn't get overshadowed.

ETA 6/2/11: Mary Doria Russell has commented via a friend and apologized.

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