Does This Costume Make Me Look Racist?

So, I’ve had some really interesting conversations lately. The good kind of interesting. Around this time of year, I see a whole lot of debate going on as to what costumes are and aren’t acceptable to wear.

sexy indian princess

I’m pretty sure no one thinks this is acceptable.

I have a few simple benchmarks for this kind of thing so I’ll just mention ’em here and you can see if you think it’ll help you decide what to wear:

1. Is it a specific character? (ie: An Indian VS Sitting Bull, or Pochahontas) If it is, and you’re sincerely dressing as that person because you like them, not to make fun of them, then that is not a caricature/racial stereotype. Go right ahead.

2. Is it something you’re actually afraid of? If so, go right ahead and empower yourself by putting on the face of your inner demons for a night. Samhain is the single most appropriate Holy Day for fear work. Do not let other people get in the way of your therapy or your expression of spirituality. They have no right to do that either.

3. Has someone told you your costume offends them? If so, ask them if they are part of the cultural/religious group you are portraying. If they are not, disregard their opinion. Oftentimes people who get offended on behalf of other people end up being wrong and members of the social group in question don’t actually care or think it’s funny too.

4. Does the costume have “Sexy” in the title? If so, it’s probably ridiculous. 

Just my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

Shifting Gears – NaNoWriMo 2014

I’ve been struggling with Blood of Midnight: Hollow Vengeance. It’s been going slower and slower until there have been days where I haven’t been writing at all, too intimidated by the prospect of slogging through another chapter. When I began writing the sequel to The Broken Prophecy I very much wanted to focus on the female lead who got less attention than her male counterpart in the first book. It annoys me that there are far fewer female protagonists than male, and even fewer female protagonists of colour. Very often, the only female characters of note end up being the male lead’s love interest and nothing else. I did not want that to be the fate of Phoenix.

But there’s a difference between what you should write and what you want to write. I found myself not wanting to write Phoenix but feeling like I owed it to feminists and women of colour. I rarely ever get inside this character’s head. Is it because she’s female? Is it because she’s not white? I don’t know.

The feedback I’ve had so far from people who have read the chapters from Phoenix’s point of view has been universally positive. They like her. She’s a badass. She doesn’t take shit from anybody. She’s complex. She sometimes makes the wrong decisions and has to deal with it … So what’s my problem with her? Continue reading “Shifting Gears – NaNoWriMo 2014”

We Need to Talk

This is not okay:

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(Image credit: Art of LomoNavojo)

Why am I posting this on my work blog? Because it’s an important issue that needs to be discussed.

When is it okay to strip your friend naked in front of strangers or new acquaintances without their consent? Pretty much everyone would agree: never. So why do so many people do it?

I know what you’re thinking. 

“What? This is a thing now? I didn’t hear about this.”

I personally know several people who have had this happen to them and continue to have it happen to them at work, at school, out shopping, at parties, everywhere. It happens to trans people. It should go without saying that what’s in a person’s pants is no one else’s business but it apparently needs to be said. This is a sad state of affairs.

What’s even sadder is that many people don’t even realize what they’ve done and don’t understand why their friend is so upset when it happens. Kindly allow me to remove the mystery.

Continue reading “We Need to Talk”

Three Words to Shut Off My Brain

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Yep.  I sometimes have this problem with overzealous activist friends. They get hyperfocused on their cause and forget that other people may see the world differently. So here’s a list of things that will and won’t  help you win friends and allies. Continue reading “Three Words to Shut Off My Brain”