My sister, my husband and I spent a few hours at Detcon1 yesterday!
While we were there, my sister and I attended the panel on What’s New About Fandom’s Diversity. I have been an advocate for women and their right to be fans and creators of Science Fiction & Fantasy for awhile now. Therefore, this was a panel topic I was very interested in.
One of the things that stood out for me was that all of the panelists had diverse backgrounds and perspectives. I was really impressed with what each of the panelists had to say, especially Isabel Schetchter. Not only does Isabel represent the female point of view, but the Jewish and Latino points of view in Fandom as well. The most powerful statement she made had to do with a comment about not seeing a person by their ‘color’. I do not remember the exact quote, but it did make an impression on me and I my sister and will do my best to paraphrase it below:
Do not tell me that you do not see ‘color’! This just tells me that you are trying to ignore my ‘color’ because it makes you uncomfortable.
I have to admit in the past that I told many people that I do not see their ‘color’, ethnicity, race, etc in reference to Fandom. As a Fangirl, I always looked at the lack of diversity in Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom, as a female and not by other aspects. Therefore, I never realized that in the mind of another fan, who faces diversity issues in Fandom that may or may not relate to just gender, that it could mean the opposite. This is a revelation to me and I hope that I can learn from this in my future dealings with other fans.
Dealing with Diversity in Fandom, as one of the panelists said (again I am paraphrasing)…
…is not about you and what you have experienced, but it is about listening to others. It is in the listening that you can learn that what you may have experienced, no matter how bad it is or was, may have also happened to another. Their experience may have been just as bad or even worse, but in a different way than what you experienced.
The panel closed with each of the panelist indicting what they see are the positives with Diversity in Fandom. The best quote on the positives of Diversity in Fandom is:
We are better off than we have ever been before because of panels like this!
For more on the topic of Diversity in Fandom you can check out the following:
War is Coming to Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom via The Province
Neurodiversity and Fandom via TOR.com