In my previous blog, I lamented the lack of nuance in everyday society.
Here I am blogging about microagressions--the everyday casualness of racism.
Recently, author Rena Barron on Twitter posted a review of her middle grade story in which the reviewer (clearly white) complimented her book as a good read "for children of African descent."
Imagine the following review--"Harry Potter is a great read for children of European descent." This would never occur. Those with power (people of European heritage) have occupied the position of normal and standard human being and have designated themselves race-less and universal. Their stories are for EVERYONE.
The damage of this labeling is that it tells the audience: "this book/story is only for black people." It limits and racializes non-whites, while conditioning people over hundreds of years to accept only whites as relatable. It alienates, pushes out, and justifies not hiring/using non-whites. Non-whites are 'the other" or abnormal. This lends itself to non-white actors always portraying aliens/fantasy creatures, while whites portray average guys or gals.
I am reminded of romantic movies with black casts that are marketed as "urban comedies" versus similar movies with white casts that are "romantic comedies." Consider the policy of putting books written by black authors in the "African American" section.
I am not a black author. I am an author of Black African heritage. My characters are people, who happen to be black. They are human, written to be read by EVERYONE. I am the girl next door, too. I am the standard human being, too. I am normal, too.
As a Speculative Fiction author, I want my books in the SFF section of the bookstore.
I want to be included in the MAIN SHOW, not the sideshow off to the side. I don't want to be subjected to quotas, "limiting" stereotypes and expectations.
Every year at this time, I think about where I am versus where I want to be and I become depressed. I am never where I want to be, and as the years drag on, the further I feel I am drifting from my goals.
This may very well be what I call the "science of aging." In the book, 'The Science of Why,' Daily Planet host, Jay Ingram discusses the belief humans have that "time flies " as you age. The feeling that, getting older, the years blend together. Our memory of time becomes faulty, which is described as a "forward telescoping." An episode we pegged to have happened a year or two ago actually happened six years ago, and so on. Ingram suggests the "time flies" phenonomenon is chalked up to us having experienced most of our "novelty" life experiences early in our life--most of us reached milestones by the time we're 25, and so there are fewer "eventful" experiences we have as we age, so years blend together, perhaps out of mundanity.
Of course, depending on who you are and the life you've lived, you may feel more depressed about the passage of time. After all, if you had an active and enviable social life, you may miss your youth more than if you never had much of a social life, anyway. You may feel time more and feel the change of its weight more than someone who hadn't the numeber of "eventful" experiences you've had.
My father used to describe me at 'old before Iam young," but the truth is, I was never young. I'm not even much of a late bloomer. I never had much of a social life; yet, this doesn't mean I don't feel the weight of time--the sluggish pull of middle age that is creeping up on me. It never was lost on me that by the time my parents were my age, they had two children.
At this age--early 30s, I am childless, and fine with it. It was never my goal to be married with children, yet there's a certain pressure women of a certain age feel to procreate. Maybe the Germans have a word for it, I don't know. It's the feeling of exclusion--that there's something everyone's doing that you're not, or that you can't do something others can do. A limitation. A loss of options--choice.
I always say, you're not old until you're off the calendar. The calendar has 31 days, and this year I passed that. There's also a "what now?" question that repeats itself in my head--a kind of desperate rush to do things, so I can get it over with. This year I had more things going on in my life than previous years. I made the effort to meet new people and find more like-minded companions, and it was worth it.
Yet, end of year is another reminder of unstoppable time. I guess I'm saying: live life to the fullest, and have a Happy New Year!