Black lives matter. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement.
I have always tried to be non-racist, but I realize now that I need to do better. The world doesn’t need me to not be racist, it needs me to be anti-racist. Anti-racism means “taking stock of and eradicating policies that are racist, that have racist outcomes, and making sure that ultimately, we’re working towards a much more egalitarian, emancipatory society” (quote from Malini Ranganathan, a faculty team lead at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center).
A social worker told me once that one of her university professors started the term by telling the class that the correct question to ask oneself isn’t ‘am I racist?’, but ‘how racist am I?’. That story has stuck with me for years. I’m sure that I have made mistakes in my work and will make more in the future, but I am committed to writing anti-racist, inclusive genre fiction. This means:
- hiring and paying sensitivity readers
- hiring Black and POC contractors
- amplifying Black and POC voices by sharing on social media, word of mouth, and any other platform I may have
- listening to Black and POC voices, apologizing when I’m wrong, and learning how to do better
- speaking up when I see or hear others engaging in racist speech or behaviour
- avoiding stereotypes and harmful depictions of racialized characters in my stories