Dep't of Why This Matters: I highly recommend skimming the thread at wild unicorn herd check in. It is beautiful.
So is everyone clued-in on the current Fail? Here's the ignition (scroll down and read the comments), and here's the tracking archive. Basically, Patricia Wrede's new book Has Problems, and people are talking about it.
Sidenote: ARRRGGGHHHHH. Yes, I really liked the Enchanted Forest Chronicles as a kid (and as a grown-up). It would be really cool if authors I like would stop screwing up this hugely. I can barely even imagine what it must feel like to be a Native American who really liked the Enchanted Forest Chronicles as a kid.
Anyway, I've only been nibbling around the edges of this one; I'll be trying to read more, but we'll see what kind of time I have. For now, I've found at least one thing I want to share: via spiralsheep, we hear from one of the people we're talking about when we ask "why in the hell didn't any of Wrede's friends warn her that completely erasing Native Americans from her
American Columbian frontier story was a bad idea?"
Well, because it's possible (common, even) for good people to carry racist ideas like some kind of social infection, and one of the primary functions of racist ideas is to make problematic and icky stuff seem normal and unremarkable. But check out the follow-up in there: consciousness-raising works.
A couple of weeks, a month? ago "Thirteenth Child" popped into my mind again. Maybe I was looking at her website. And I thought, "Oh, wait a minute. She erased all the Native Americans. That's... not so good...."
...It's even possible for white people to learn how to predict [complaints of race fail]. Now if white people could just learn how to predict them in time to not publish the mistake...
Right now, that's happening somewhere: Someone in a writing group is noticing something racially sketchy that one of their colleagues did by accident, and is quietly pointing it out, and it's getting fixed. I mean, that's always happened, occasionally. But I think one of the permanent effects of the various RaceFail conversations is that it's going to happen a lot more often. If Wrede had started building her book a few years later than she did, someone, maybe zeborahnz, probably would have warned her, and she might have done something about it and we'd have ended up with a drastically different book.
Again: That's why I want these conversations to be as big as possible, to be heard as far and wide as possible. They get shit done.