Check out this Laptop Lecture, by Miami University Professor of English, Helane Androne. In this quick lecture, Dr. Androne considers how speculative fiction by authors of color provides powerful models of anti-racist world building, asking us to “build something new.”
Speculative Fiction as/and Anti-Racism
Hi, I'm Dr. Helene Androne and I'm an English professor at Miami University. The layers of our current context have driven some to new visions about the world we need to build. I've been thinking about how much our moment reminds me of the importance of speculative fiction. The key to a good speculative story is how it answers the question, what if? Well, that same question is potent for any attempt to build an antiracist future, which requires imagination, creativity, and space to build. As we use this moment in our world to explore the roots of and remedies for racism, let's also consider the important role that stories have in both cautioning us and in moving visions forward. Think of George Orwell, who warned against the love of power and domination. Isaac Asimov who suggested the import of ethics pertaining to science. And Ursula Le Guin, who toyed with how tightly we cling to gender limitations. But what does it take to build a different kind of world that rejects exclusion and racism? Let's pay closer attention to African American authors like Octavia Butler, who used a parable to suggest how we transform our thinking to deliberately build a beloved community. Another African American champion world builder is N.K. Jemisin, who wrote the Broken Earth series in which she demonstrates the not so hidden power of people who are both oppressed and feared. Authors like Sabrina Vourvoulias, a Greek Latina author of Ink warns us of a preventable dystopic future for immigration. Many authors are doing the antiracist work of combating invisibility and colorblindness by writing people of color into the future. They build the worlds we want to see and warn us about those we don't. Antiracism work must be similarly deliberate in building a world that honors the full scope of humanity. Consider this your invitation into the work of antiracist world building. A, ask yourself what if, and then build something new.
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