Tag Archives: Geeks

Open Thread: Is It Time For A Geeks Of Color Convention?

By Arturo R. García

This is just an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a few days, but I’d like to get everyone’s early take on it. Let me begin by listing reasons a POC-centric geek gathering should happen:

  • Because we’ve already seen Geek Girl Con and and Bent-Con step up for communities typically marginalized or exploited by genre-related industries.
  • Because Christina Xu’s GGC wrap-up raises questions that still need to be addressed:

in an age when superstar rapper Nicki Minaj name-checks Street Fighter characters and streetwear brands team up with comic-book companies like Marvel and DC, who exactly is the geek referred to in GeekGirlCon? To be a geek, do you have to prefer filk over bounce? Is it a self-identification?

I ask these questions because I’m legitimately curious; if fandom is the uniting factor, then the increasingly diverse audiences for all of our favorite geek media (video games, sci-fi, comics, etc.) should be offered a place at conventions like GGC. If, in fact, geekdom here is actually defined by a set of social norms and practices (or the lack thereof) that just happens to coincide with fandom, then geek communities need to have some serious internal conversations and own up to that.

  • Because, while San Diego Comic-Con and other conventions featured race-positive programming this year, that still doesn’t make them safe spaces.
  • Because you can still say the same about any number of fandoms.
  • Because in spite of this fact, there’s still members of fandom – consumers, creators and executives alike – who still won’t own up to the fact that there’s geeks out there who react with hostility whenever somebody points out a problematic portrayal of race.
  • Because there’s got to be creators and aspiring creators of color out there who need a place in which to meet and network outside of the “general population.”
  • Because, while it was great to read about DC Comics getting called out on the carpet at SDCC with regards to gender issues, I shouldn’t have to doubt that raising the same questions about race would get half as much discussion outside of sites like this one or Racebending.
  • Because the Akira adaptation is still happening, proving Hollywood didn’t get the message about The Last Airbender.
  • Because this might be the best way left to get those same industry forces to listen to our concerns, in a place where we can set the terms of discussion.

Again, this is just a kernel of a concept right now, but … what do you think, Racializens? Would you be up for a full-scale gathering?

The Problems With Geek Girl Con – And Some Solutions

By Guest Contributor Christina Xu

A few weekends ago, I trekked out to Seattle for the first ever GeekGirlCon, a convention “dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture”. Regina Buenaobra, a Filipina-America community manager at ArenaNet, had asked me to speak on a panel about race and gender in geek communities way back in May.

In her initial email to the panelists, she wrote:

The main reason I’ve sought to try and put together a panel like this is because the voices of POC should be heard in fandom circles, and there isn’t enough of this happening at larger nerd-oriented conventions. Since GeekGirlCon is a new convention, if they accept the submission, it has the potential to help set the tone of what kind of panels may appear at future incarnations at the convention.

Our panel was incredibly ambitious; we were promising to cover an impossibly enormous topic (race AND gender in ALL geek communities?) and, after Racialicious Editor-In-Chief Latoya Peterson canceled, we were left with an ironic lack of racial diversity among the panelists (though we were split between Filipina-American and Chinese-American). It took us a bit to get going, but by the end I was pretty pleased with the ground our panel had covered.
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