When a person was recently approached with the idea of being a guest (not by me, thankfully) at SOBSFic Con, the person responded by saying “Miss me with that shit! I don’t support Black anything! If white people threw a ‘White Science Fiction Convention’ Black people would be up in arms.”
Another person took it upon themselves to “enlighten” me after I posted an article about SOBSFic Con in a group:
“The real problem here is calling it ‘Black Science Fiction’,” they said. “If Afram writers insist on segregating their books in this manner, it will be a real challenge to market them. Simply writing a good book that HAPPENS to have a black character is good enough… I’ve found it’s difficult to sell a book OUTSIDE of people of color markets when we call the books ‘African-American’ or ‘Black’…this is just a sad fact. I’m black and it drives ME crazy!”
The article was about the convention, NOT one of my books, but okay. My response? Here:
“Black readers ARE my target market. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Just purchase what keeps you sane.”
I do not have the time or the inclination to break this down to folks every time this comes up – and it comes up too often – so I am writing this blog to serve as a link I – and you, if you choose – can share every time we are asked why white people shouldn’t name a con the White Science Fiction Convention, but it is not just okay, but intelligent marketing, to name ours the State of Black Science Fiction Convention.
Here are my responses; feel free to use them:
- “Because damn near every con – except for the few Black comic conventions – in the world is a white science fiction convention. Go to one, or look at the photos for any one of them and you’ll see.”
- “Because white people have not been ignored, excluded from, erased or made the savage in science fiction and fantasy.”
- “Shut yo’ dumb ass up!”
Now, I’ll add a couple of Milton Davis’ responses here, too, because he’s a lot nicer, wiser and older (had to toss that one in) than I:
- “When it comes to us, I like to be straight to the point; that way, there’s no guessing to what SOBSFic Con is about.”
- “State of Black Science Fiction is the name of the group.”
See…nicer; wiser, older more refined.
“Ok, Balogun, clever, responses,” you say. “You’re a witty guy, but the name ‘State of Black Science Fiction Convention’ is considered to be racist by some. Is it?”
Perhaps the State of Black Science Fiction Convention would be racist if its aim was to point out that Black people are superior to other groups. However, the State of Black Science Fiction Convention functions to highlight the oft-overlooked accomplishments of people of Afrikan descent in all genres and subgenres of speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, Sword and Soul, Rococoa, Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk, Real Urban Fantasy™ and the like.
So, “Black” will remain in the title of our convention, people.
And, for the record, SOBSFic Con – the State of Black Science Fiction Convention – was never intended to make white people – or Black people who get uncomfortable when white people are uncomfortable – uncomfortable…unless maybe they ought to be.