Quote Originally Posted by slhuang View Post
Wait, what?


I'm a genre writers too, and we are not streets ahead, we are not less terrible, and elves are not diversity.

Or have you not noticed that all the elves are white?

Genre has enormous problems. Did you miss Racefail 2009? Did you miss the blowup about the SFWA bulletin in 2013? Did you miss the racist, misogynistic assholes who've been trying to take over the Hugos the past three years? And those are just the biggest ones; SFF has new ragemaking stuff happen every month or so like clockwork. How/what we write intersects hugely with our own world and our own life experiences -- yes, even in genre -- and critical analysis of the cultures created in SFF worlds shows there is a lot lacking before we can make the least claim of being less terrible.

We write societies based on medieval Europe with all white people, and then claim historical accuracy (false, and also, DRAGONS?!).

We write societies with white elves and white dwarves and white halflings and then there's that one exotic barbaric land across the mountains with the dark-skinned humans.

We make up imaginary societies with no queer beings, no disabled beings, and monolithic cultural values with no in-story explanation; the only reason being that we're bringing our own real-world biases.

We write stories that are all white men (or white elves, or white dwarves, or male aliens) and only a sprinkling of women or POC, in societies that are supposed to be equal. We give those women and POC terrible, stereotypical roles.

We assume Western cultural mores and don't conceive that even within our own real world there are cultures with value systems of varying priorities in ways that are just as valid, so we portray anything that doesn't fit into non-Western values as new, exotic, alien, inhuman.

Want to learn? Start with this essay, and then google. There are many people in SFF talking about this. MANY. We have huge problems in genre, and we are not less terrible for including elves, ffs.
You said everything that I was thinking here, and much more succinctly and clearly.

One down side of becoming conscious about issues pertaining to representation and appropriation etc. is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. I think this is why so many people get so outraged when issues are pointed out to them, because it means they won't be able to consume their favorite media with a completely non-critical eye anymore. I'm a huge fan of SF and F, and every time I scan back cover copy or peruse cover art, every time I see a movie trailer, every time I watch a movie, I notice the flaws. They may not be deal breakers, but they're burrs under my saddle. For example, when everyone was crowing about how wonderful Rogue One was for having a female lead and diverse cast members, I couldn't help noticing how the female lead was the only significant female character, or how the blind Jedi character ticked a number of "Asian Kung Fu" stereotype boxes. I still liked the movie and appreciated what its creators were attempting to do, but I also thought they could have done better.

We still have a long way to go, and it's a shame that pointing this out when one sees problematic things has become equated with hatred, censorship and a desire to silence white writers or to limit what they can write about.