Tokenism

Avoiding Tokenism in Literature at CONvergence 2018

Avoiding Tokenism in Literature at CONvergence 2018

Creating actual diversity requires a great effort to avoid unintentionally tokenizing your characters. Tokenism, even when unintentional, is what leads to adding "diversity" for the sake of diversity. How do we engender true diversity in our literature?
Panelists:
Tamora Pierce, Justin Grays, Kerry Peterson (mod), Jei Herald-Zamora

Polyamory and Race

When I had released the survey asking people what to discuss at a future polyamory panel, one of the suggestions was intersections of polyamory, race, and queerness. This topic could be a panel by itself. Here I will attempt to give some insight to my experiences as an African American who happens to be polyamorous, but I am not going to go into detail about my experiences with being queer as I am often perceived as a cishet male and have only recently begun to explore elements of my queerness.

MarsCon 2018 - Day 2

MarsCon 2018 - Day 2

If you didn't read the previous post, MarsCon 2018 - Day 1, I would suggest checking that out first. The panels that I was on, "Avoiding the Tokenism in Comics and Sci Fi Cultures," "How to Fail Gracefully," and "Polyamory: Perceptions and Realities" are all related to today's panels in one way or another: "The Prime Directive as Liberal Eurocentric Superiority," "Gem Watch," "Star Trek," "Cleavage Optional: Gender, Cosplay, and Genderbending Cosplay," and "Race and Culture in the Honorverse."

MarsCon 2018 - Day 1

MarsCon 2018 - Day 1

MarsCon is a fan-run science fiction convention for all ages held every March in the Twin Cities area. This year's theme is Robots, Rayguns, & Rockets: The 3 R's of Sci-Fi. Today I was on two panels, "Avoiding the Tokenism in Comics and Sci Fi Cultures," "How to Fail Gracefully," and "Polyamory: Perceptions and Realities." There are audio recordings of all three panels; however, they are still the raw, unedited versions. The normalized, balanced versions will be put up on a later post. I also took some notes for some of the panels - I will include them here so that I can expand on them on a later date. Please feel free to ask questions and post comments about the panels. Enjoy!

CONvergence 2017 - Two Weeks Later

CONvergence 2017 - Two Weeks Later

Since I have returned home, I have not had a change to down the notes that I took on the the other panels that I attended at CONvergence - "Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book Medium" and "Latinx Empowerment Through Latinx Heroes" (I also attended "Don't Go There: Taboo Topics and Triggers In Art," but I did not take any notes) - but now I have a moment to get some thoughts down. These two panels do tie into the other panels that I was on (read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4), and I plan on writing out detailed thoughts about these as time permits.

CONvergence 2017 - Day 3

CONvergence 2017 - Day 3

If you haven't read CONvergence 2017 - Day 1 or CONvergence 2017 - Day 2 already, I would suggest that you read those two entries first - the four panels that I was on, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism," "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters," "Diversity, Class Systems, and Equality in Science Fiction" and "50 Shades of Blackface," all relate to tonight's panel: "Androids, AI, And Gender Theory."

This post will be in three parts: First, a couple of definitions and points - these definitions will be without citation, as I jotted them down in a notebook for reference for the panel, though I do plan on revisiting them in a future post. Second, a listing of media that has to do with stories about Androids, AI, and/or Gender. Third, free-form notes that were taken during the panel that I plan on elaborating on at a later date.

CONvergence 2017 - Day 2

CONvergence 2017 - Day 2

If you didn't read the previous post, CONvergence 2017 - Day 1, I would suggest checking that out first. The panels that I was on, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism" and "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters," were both directly related to today's panels, "Diversity, Class Systems, and Equality in Science Fiction" and "50 Shades of Blackface."

CONvergence 2017 - Day 1

CONvergence 2017 - Day 1

CONvergence is an annual convention about Science Fiction and Fantasy, held at the Doubletree Hilton and the Sheraton in Bloomington, Minnesota. This year's theme is To Infinity and Beyond: Epic Tales of Space Opera. Today I was on two panels, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism" and "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters" - in both of the panels, I said that I would gather the books and/or sources that were discussed and put them up on here.

On Tokenism

Token. Noun. "An item, idea, person, etc., representing a group; a part as representing the whole; sample; indication" [4].

Tokenism. Noun. "The policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort (as to desegregate)" [5]; "the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly" [5].