So, I have a bit of a habit. I’m not willing to call it a ‘bad’ habit, because it does me a heck of a lot of good. But from the viewpoint of the organizers for the various cons I attend? Yeah, it might be a bit bad.
Perhaps ‘talent’ is a better term. Or ‘sheer dumb luck.’
I tend to find backdoors to the schedules for conventions and see them before they’re put up (I’m now risking them blocking those links by coming clean, but it’s important to know how I know what’s going on.). I don’t even try is the thing. I google something about the convention and all the sudden I’m into the schedule they haven’t linked or, oftentimes, haven’t even finalized. (No, I’m not sharing the links. Then they’d be onto me for sure…)
So I know that at this year’s Worldcon, there are an inordinate amount of panels on diversity. Racial, cultural, gender, sexual. You name it. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not this was done as a way to give a discreet finger to the Sad and/or Rabid Puppies (I really doubt it is, myself), but the fact is that these are on the docket.
That’s interesting enough as it is, but then I started thinking a little deeper. RWA (Romance Writers of America) just had their national conference last week. One of the takeaways I’m seeing from a lot of the attendees is an overwhelming number of panels on diversity in fiction there, too. Far higher than at previous RWA conferences.
Now, I don’t know how far in advance these have been planned for the schedule. Maybe all of these were planned back in January. But I do find it odd that, right as soon as marriage inequality was made illegal (Because that’s what happened, technically. No laws were changed or created or anything. The interpretation was simply re-examined.), diversity panels come into play. As soon as people start noticing the treatment of black people in the US, we start to see panels on Afrofuturism.
I don’t think that it is directly connected to the Supreme Court ruling. But I think what we’re seeing is the beginning of something more. We’re seeing people not just wishing that they could be included in things, but people wishing that everyone could start to be included. In books and movies and comics, but also in real life. I think it’s been building, but this year, just over halfway complete, has been full of huge movements toward inclusivity. I love it, too.
I also think that’s why there’s backlash. It happens whenever there’s a large change coming down the pipeway. Look at the publishing industry itself. When self-publishing became an actual, viable option, New York publishers fought harder and harder against it. And what happened? The big six eventually became the big five before they accepted the change to the status quo. And honestly? I don’t think it’s been fully accepted, yet.
And neither has equality and inclusivity. Not yet. But I think we’re headed there. Or I hope we are, at the very least. Because that’s what I long to see: everyone just getting along. It’s not going to be an easy road, and the work’s nowhere even close to halfway done, but the support is growing. And I think that basically fucking rocks.