Diversity is More Than a Token Panel

I’ve been on exactly one panel at a con and it was a diversity panel. This isn’t surprising as I’m not a creator or a particularly vocal or involved fan. I happened to know the person proposing it and since I’m a bisexual female minority I hit pretty much every diversity button there so it was a good fit and a fun time.

But it was one panel. Imagine time and time again you are asked to only talk about how you are different. Being told over and over that what you are is more important than what you do.

Talking about diversity, bringing awareness to it, is a good thing but it’s a step, not a result. ACTUAL diversity isn’t a panel that says look how aware we are of the issues, it’s having diverse panels. People with different voices and experiences talking about what they’re passionate and knowledgeable about instead of how they’re different from each other.

Wesley Chu is an amazing writer. So is Kameron Hurley. So are so many other women and minorities. When I was at C2E2 this year I cornered Chu and flailed at him about how good Rebirths of Tao was (it had just come out) and how excited I was for Time Salvager. I can’t think of a single time I’ve gone up to a creator and prioritized their ethnicity or gender over their work.

And yet conventions do it all the time.

Talking about diversity, about different experiences is important but unless it leads to actual diversity in panels it’s basically pointless.

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