May 03, 2013

Cushion-diving for change: It's 5&Dime Friday!

Ohhh, it's hard to tell, from the thunder and wind and the snow and the heat, but it's the first weekend in May, wherever you are - and that deserves some especially shiny change, and the chance to see what else we can shake loose out of the couch for now...

It's Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, which means our efforts to celebrate diversity will include a special nod to all things Asian and Pacific American. In the category of "And Now You Know," the Library of Congress reminds us, "The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants." The Smithsonian's efforts to honor Asian/Pacific Americans this month includes a traveling exhibit which chronicles the migration of Asians into the Americas from the time of Columbus. Looks like some good stuff.

I know this is all over the internet by now, but I'm still bewildered as to how that cat in Daytona figured out where home was... I mean, without two dogs to walk with her to West Palm. Why is she trying to reenact The Incredible Journey without the dogs??

I'm always so happy to get links from Diversity in YA - while Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo no longer blog at the old site, Diversity In YA is now a Tumblr which means pithy posts, pictures, and the other day, a new link heralding DiversifYA, a spankin' new YA site devoted to questions and authors in diversity - not just racial/ethnic diversity but gender diversity, ability diversity, and more, all within the context of our best books. And you canNOT beat the cute outta that button. You just cannot.

While we're free associating about diversity, here's another little bright spot of the week:

I'm a quiet reader of a lot of news and information sites, and while I don't always delurk or comment, at times I'm at home nodding my head so hard I could stand in for one of those bobble dolls. This week I wasn't just nodding, I was kind raising brows and mumbling agreement from the back row. Sarah Ockler responded to The Atlantic Wire's YA for Grownups piece on race in YA with some old and new thoughts, and it hit me in a good way - mainly because it wasn't for me, but addressed from one Caucasian author to another:

One Café, Hold The Au Lait: A Primer for White Authors

Actively diversifying our fiction does not mean any of the following:
  • Giving a character almond-shaped eyes or coffee-mocha-latte-chocolate-hazelnut-caramel-cappuccino-colored skin. In fact, as a general rule, writers seeking inspiration solely from Starbucks menus probably need to dial down the caffeine.
  • Slotting in a random person of color for no other reason than to break up the whiteness (especially if you’re writing about a place that is mostly white. Like, a Rod Stewart concert, or maybe a deer hunt).
  • Sneaking in a few non-white celebrity guest appearances on a poster, an iPod, or a character’s favorite TV show. I mean, I love Fresh Prince as much as anyone, because Parents Just Don’t Understand, but no—that doesn’t count.
  • Including a non-white character whose only real difference from the white characters is the color of his skin and/or his snappy catch phrases. Word!
  • Conducting a find-and-replace in Word to change Breanna and Chad to Belicia and Chen. CTRL+F what?
  • Putting a sushi or taco bar in the school cafeteria. Which is one of those things that sounds like a good idea at the time, but usually isn’t.

I'm all about avoiding Starbucks metaphors, not over-doing the description-of-color, and finding new ways to think past the "default." There is much, much more at Ockler's blog; much that has been said before, and much that is all Sarah-flavored and new, which may help us think this issue through in new ways. Please check it out.

If you missed Publishers Weekly's Q&A with the articulate and thoughtful Sara Zarr, we've got it; you're welcome..

Well, it's the end of the first foray of summer out West, what with the crazy early May temps (Hi, 90°!) but Springtime resumes today, just in time for the weekend. And that is A GOOD Thing. Because there are bound to be some military action this weekend in the Empire - and it can get ridiculously hot in that body armor.

Wait, you didn't know about that?

Consider yourself schooled.

In a most happy combo-event, May the Fourth is also the first Saturday in May - Free Comic Books, y'all. Ewoks and comic books, Followed by guacamole, on NOT, not, not Mexican Independence Day, but the commemoration of a pretty good win in Puebla, Mexico, over French forces back in 1862. Viva El Día de la Batalla de Puebla!

Happy Friday.


Sarah Stevenson said...

GREAT links. I know what I'll be reading this weekend. :)

Keep an eye out for a guest post by me on Diversity in YA's tumbler! Not sure when, because I still have to write it and send it to them...but this month sometime.

LinWash said...

Yeah, great links! And that Diversify YA button is too cute! I gotta see if I can add that to my wordpress blog.