ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a lovely look at several of Jack Kirby's characters of diversity, made with Stan Lee but these are ones primarily driven by Jack.  

Note that Ben Grimm is a double-tap for being Jewish and lower/working class.  As the Thing, he is also a man of color -- even though color-changed characters may have grown up white, they pick up the chromatic stigma of not being white anymore and it really shows in how people treat them.  Also worth considering is the way that Jack characterized Ben as Jewish for years before it was safe to come right out and say that.  Sometimes I tag the ethnicity or religion of my characters openly, but often it's just there in the name, location, physical description, etc.

I always liked the technological aspect of Black Panther, which so often gets overlooked.  After having discovered Odinani, the sacred science of Nigeria, I kind of wonder if that played in.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl and is the second freebie for Twitter user Harriet Clough as a new prompter. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fill the "je ne regrette rien" square in my 7-30-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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Here's a mostly tongue-in-cheek post about describing fair skin in some of the ways that dark skin is often described.

I have actually used "marzipan" as a skin tone. Also cream, peach, toast, porcelain, bisque, alabaster, grub (as in insect, not food), and uncooked bread dough. (Some of the descriptions were from a less-than-positive perspective.) Also in the white-people range are the pinkish-fair tones that are not copper, so things like ruddy, flushed, coral, and rosy apply.

Kay in Schrodinger's Heroes is Hispanic, but has fair skin, which I have described as vanilla latte: a dark cream or the palest possible brown.

Then there was the time I spent over an hour hunting around for synonyms and metaphors of "brown" that were based on things NOT associated with the slave trade, preferably things relating to African culture. Kola nut was a favorite. Ebony, which is dark brown to black, is a sacred wood in Africa and thus legit.

My desertfolk often have two or three colortones combined: rose-gold, rose-mocha, toasted-peaches-and-cream.  It's very rare to see truly pale skin or very dark skin in the Whispering Sands, but they cover an enormous range in between with subtle and complex variations of ruddy, shadowy, and tawny hues.  Very beautiful.  Oh, and to them "melon" is specifically the color of ladyparts and they make jokes about it.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Looking for something concrete you can do about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri?  Mary Engelbreit has created a picture and is selling prints, all proceeds going to Michael Brown Jr. memorial fund.  This is art as social awareness, a vital part of a culture's conversation with itself.  

Facebook took down the artist's original post, calling it "offensive."  You know what I find offensive?
* killing an unarmed man for Existing While Black
* leaving his corpse in the street for hours to terrorize the neighborhood
* using weapons banned for warfare against civilians
* assaulting and arresting journalists and protesters for exercising their civil rights
* censorship

Make news.  Make noise.  Make art, and sell it, and buy it.  Slip a caltrop under the jackboots of oppression.

I'm really glad to see other creators making cultural material inspired by this fiasco.  Mine was "Safety Rails," which is free for everyone to pass around in protest.


ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
I'm disappointed in my country right now. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri is a disgraceful mess. So I wrote this as a reminder that police are supposed to de-escalate situations, not make them worse.

Remember that you don't have to stay silent when people are behaving badly. You can speak up and act out for the kind of world you want to live in. In this case, you can help by reblogging this poem or linking to it here, so that more people will see it and the resources under it.  You could also write or draw something of your own.

This poem fills the "rape / non-con" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics; Hefty and Fiddlesticks are characters in the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread.

Warning:  Rude racial language, awkward interactions, police action, references to sexual assault and possible domestic abuse.  Despite the challenges, though, the overall tone is relatively positive as it focuses on damage control.

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Here is the last of the recently sponsored Schrodinger's Heroes stories written by [personal profile] chanter_greenie.  "Keeping a Logbook" puts a human face on refugees and the people who help them flee in hope of a better life.  That's something we need more of in today's world.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] brushwolf, [personal profile] rix_scaedu, LJ user Moriwen1, and Twitter user Harriet Clough. It also fills the "undeserved reputation" square in my 7-31-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Dr. Infanta thread of Polychrome Heroics.

Warning: This poem touches on some tense points in civil rights history, with some offensive language to match.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a staunch essay about the need for diversity in speculative fiction

I hear ya, bro.  Write the future you want to bring forth.

Here's one of mine, The Blueshift Troupers.  I made that because I was sick to death of dystopic SF, and I want my future back.  So have some sensawonda with diversity sauce.  Yes, I was thinking of the original Star Trek when I wrote it, thank you Gene Roddenberry for imagining a future in which people of different backgrounds could get along.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Arthurian Cycle or the Matter of Britain is a massive sprawl of stories, poems and songs, plays, movies, paintings, embroidery, and other cultural material spanning centuries. The heroes are male, furnished with an assortment of heroines for love interests and occasionally antagonists. The leading themes are political intrigue, tragic romance, adventure, and religion.

[personal profile] dialecticdreamer posted an essay about genderbending and what storylines would work in that context. I allowed as to how if I were doing this, I would "aim at young women professionals and grrlgeeks: a crowd with money burning a hole in their pockets, and frustrated by the dearth of interesting female characters. And then I'd genderbend, oh, something rogueish and colorful like Robin Hood, King Arthur, The 7 Samurai, etc." So then [personal profile] clare_dragonfly wanted to see the genderbent King Arthur, and so did some other folks. I started playing around with names and pretty soon I had a cast of characters, some plot sketches, and other cool stuff. This meta description also fills the "genderswap" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] fanbingo fest.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 A dig at Cahokia Mounds has turned up what looks like a prayer bundle.  I'm kind of surprised that this is the first they've found there.  Prayer bundles are pretty typical of magical/spiritual practice across many tribes.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] helgatwb is helping me figure out how Easy City developed from New Orleans, Slidell, and other cities hooking together into a metroplex ... when people in southern Louisiana don't actually get along all that well.  Read the first discussion post, and chime in if you know this area.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
An Indian university has bred seedless mangoes.  Science is SO AWESOME.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This story was commissioned by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer after discussions about our respective characters, the situation with superkids in Polychrome Heroics, and her interest in the U.S. Coast Guard. It also fills the "stranded / survival scenario" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest.

WARNING: This story contains some intense topics. The warnings include spoilers; highlight to read. There is minor character death, minor grue, a child in danger, refugee status, instinctive use of superpowers, and some other edgy stuff. However, there are people to help and it has a happy ending. Consider your tastes and headspace before clicking through.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I continue to be impressed with the Cherokee tradition of linguistic eptitude.  It's one of the few native languages to devise its own writing system, and now it comes in Braille too
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem takes place in Terramagne, even though it came out of the very first Poetry Fishbowl on November 21, 2007, long before Polychrome Heroics was established. Over time I've learned to recognize different worlds and what makes them distinctive, so when I came back across this poem recently, I recognized it as belonging to this setting. This poem was inspired by prompts from LJ users Beetiger and Je_reviens. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I loved this article about the ongoing evolution of regalia at powwows.  

As much as I love the traditional materials, I understand that novelty is a crucial indicator of cultural survival.  If people are only copying the past, then the culture is stagnant.  Tribal spirit depends on each individual finding their own dreamvision.  So if a person's regalia is exuberant and unique -- if they're incorporating current resources into their outfit -- then it's a healthy sign of a living, growing culture.  Then when you see the traditional work, it's about the challenge of keeping the old ways alive, taking a consistent set of materials and learning what you can do with those.  Innovation there looks a bit different.  And then there's fusion, where you might see someone making motherboard lines in quillwork and beads. 

Hints of this show up in my writing occasionally.  The Iron Horses are a superpowered, intertribal, motorcycle gang over in Polychrome Heroics.  Their uniforms are a cross between regalia and biker leathers.  That was inspired by something I've seen a lot of tribal folks doing, where they'll take their cultural background and look for a way to merge it with whatever their contemporary interests are.  It's not something that only exists in the past.  Native culture is still here, and it interacts with the mainstream, sometimes in breathtaking ways.

And you can see it in my aesthetic tastes: my favorite dances include men's traditional, men's fancy dance, jingle dress, and hoop.  A pretty even mix of classes that are straight historic and ones that have the most modern influence.  *ponder*  Though after having recently seen a white girl in a circus who did a brilliant hula routine with holographic hoops, I have to say I would really like to see what a native dancer could do with a set of blinged-up hoops.  Because fusion is awesome.  Traditional is awesome.  Modern is awesome.  Dance ALL the things!
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the July 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "moving" square of my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman and [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Danso thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.

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