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Kemore East High School, who thinks a chant using the word "nigger" is great for school spirit.  I'm glad Tyra Batts fought back.  She did everything right, from trying to reason with her teammates to talking to to the adults in charge and they dropped the ball (no pun intended).  I'm glad her parents got involved and made a noise.  Too many times parents think they're powerless to stop what is basically bullying.

However it doesn't surprise me that her suspension for fighting is worse than those who brought about the situation in the first place.  Study after study indicates that black and brown students are far more likely to be punished/suspended harsher than their white peers for the same offenses.

Seriously, there are times that whole non-violence thing is wasted on neanderthals who only understand having their asses kicked:

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/high-school-student-puts-stop-racist-team-chant-202200578.html

Before it comes out of anyone's mouth, NOT EVERY BLACK PERSON USES THE WORD NIGGER.  Most of us hate it and there's an ongoing debate in the black community about it.  But oif all you know about black folks is what you see on a rap video, then you're pretty fucking hopeless anyway.  By the way, it might be just a "word" for some people, but for myself, it's the last word 14 year-old Emmitt Till heard before two white men murdered him.  It's the last word thousands of black men, women and children heard while the rope was placed around their necks, so NO, it's not just a "word".

Post-racial my ass!
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Way back in 2006  when I was just cutting my teeth in the slash fiction genre, I penned a personal essay called Coloring the Slash Paradigm, or How a Black Woman Ended up Writing about White Guys, which was sort of an free-form expression about being a woman of color in a fandom that seemed to be absent of diversity (or so I thought, LOL).  The purpose was two-fold:

1) Was to dispel the persistent myth that only whites actively participated in the fandom world and that
2) Being a woman of color did not prohibit me from writing about characters who neither shared my color or gender.  

That last point was a very subtle jab at some white authors who still make the spurious claim that they have a hard time crafting well-rounded and nuanced characters of color.  That's a lie.  What they really have a difficult time with is getting away with stereotypical characters of color and then being called to the mat for their fail.

Well, so much has happened over the years.  I've written a full-length novel, a couple of short stories and several scholarly essays with my wonderful writing "sister" Anne.  I've seen what was once relegated to fan fiction has become an entire genre and a popular one at that, which is M/M Romance.  I remember a time when there were just one or two small die-hard publishers; now everyone wants a piece of the M/M pie.  I've watched with some amusement as the Romance Writers Association struggled to figure out how to balance the popularity of this genre (and that of erotic romance) with the more traditional romances without alienating anyone.  It's still anyone's guess as to how well they've done.

So, having re-read my essay, this paragraph leaped out at me:

"It’s rather easy for me, because I’m taking things from what I do know – when I’m writing a BDSM-themed story – and combining those things with the simple fact that love (or lust) knows no racial or gender boundaries.  I’m not a man, but I do know what it is to feel desire for someone.  I also have a great deal of respect for my slash characters, and would never consider writing them in a way that is demeaning or insulting.  This is really important for RPS (real person slash).  It’s also the fact that I wouldn’t want to read something written to be insulting or demeaning..."

I guess this struck me as important because I've been thinking a lot about the idea of co-opting gay male identities and what that means for the community I have attempted to write about.  I have come to understand that what might be "just fantasy" for me, no matter how accurate the representation and the respect that I give to (or seriously try to) my gay male characters, there are going to be members of GLBTQ community who simply are not going to like what I do.  And you know something, that's okay.  Just because they may find my gender problematic (if not my sexuality since I am the "B" in GLBTQ) doesn't mean that their feelings aren't valid.  It's their experience, not mine.  I'm in their sandbox and I shouldn't be throwing sand around.  The only thing I can do is to write with sensitivity and respect.  My job as a writer is to craft nuanced characters in their love, their lust, their happiness, their sadness--in short being plain ol' human beings.  I may not always get it right, and when a gay man tells me where I got something wrong, I LISTEN to what they have to say.  I don't take it as a personal attack.

No, I would never write a stereotyped or demeaning character because I sure as hell wouldn't want someone to write that way about me


I still read a lot of M/M romance and have noticed just how much FAIL tends to happen in this genre, from the lack of using lubricant before performing anal sex, to the irritating tendancy of one of the characters to be a stereotyped "chick with a dick", to even that perennial favorite ass-backwards 'compliment' of the "big hung black male" busting open the tight, white virginal butt.  Before anyone thinks it's just women who perpetrate this nonsense, I've read some male authors who make me wonder.  What disturbs me about all of this is what happens when gay male (and to a much smaller extent lesbians, though F/F romance isn't even close to as popular.  I could probably write an entire essay about this but I'll save it for another time) have the unmitigated gall to call this genre to task for asserting heteronormative/white male privilege.  Talk about the fur flying and the protestations of "OMG, I support the right of gays and lesbians to marry" or "my relative du jour/best friend/neighbor is gay", or whatever.  And this means what in the grand scheme of things?  To me, such lameness sounds exactly like what I've heard when people of color challenge white privilege--"my best friend/neighbor/fill-in-the-blank" is black/brown/red/yellow.  In other words, this gives the offenders a perfect right to not give a damn whether what they write affects marginalized groups.

Being mindful is NOT the same as self-censorship.  I still write M/M fan fic here and there though I'm not as active in the community as I used to be.  I may come back to it again someday (after I've explored my nerdy side with my love of all things J-Rock/Lolita/Cosplay).  Those of us in marginalized communities are NOT asking that writers stop writing.  I don't know where that bullshit came from.  What is being asked is to represent these groups as complex individuals.  Granted, there will be times where an author does just that and some readers still won't be pleased, but derailing the conversation or ignoring it altogether solves nothing.

Thoughts on Endless RaceFail

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Call me naive, but as a middle-aged woman of color and a lifelong member of the geek/fandom generation, I often find myself wondering just what the hell is going on with so many writers/artists/designers/etc. committing endless, epic racefail these days.  I mean, are these folks stuck on stupid or what?  This isn't the 1800's where it didn't matter if one offended people of color.  This is 2011 and well, with all the information and the fact that the world is a much smaller place, there is just no excuse to be willfully ignorant. 

What cracks me up the most is how offended those who do/say/write stupid things get when we "uppity" FoC's call them out on it.  I mean really, what right do they have to be upset?  It's not their images/personhood that is tarnished or diminished.  Oh, I get it--how dare we uppity folks challenge privilege.  We FoC's are no longer content to be relegated to sidekicks or in the case of TheThirteenth Child be written completely out of the narrative.  We're here, we've ALWAYS been here (I forget who the idiot author who said that FoC's only came about because of the internet, but NO) and we are so not going away.  It's not our fault that most racefailers live in some kind of retro-Leave-It-To-Beaver-land.

It's rather telling how many writers of color have no problem whatsoever crafting well-rounded and nuanced white characters, but for some strange reason that defies logic and sanity, the same cannot be said of the epic racefailers.  For some strange reason, it just feels 'realistic' to portray characters of color as 'the other'.  Amazing how nuanced these same writers can be when it comes to writing about freaking vampires and werewolves

The problem is that those of privilege just aren't willing to give it up, no matter how liberal they like to portray themselves.  They just don't like being told that "no, you can't use the word nigger", or "no, the relationship between a two different ethnicities is NOT the same as that of a werecheetah and a wereleopard", and therefore cannot  be considered an interracial romance".  They don't like being told that the "magical Negro/magical Native American" trope is totally offensive.  They don't like being told that some members of marginalized groups take great umbrage at having aspects of their culture co-opted without the attendant sensitivity (I see a lot of this in the M/M Romance genre where a lot of straight women seem to think that every gay man is going to be open and accepting of what they do).  They don't like feeling as if they are slowly yet surely losing power as PoC start to assert ours.

Here's the irony: That power you so greedly are trying to hold on to isn't even yours to begin with and worse, it's based on lie after lie after lie.  It's based on the blood, sweat and tears of millions of innocent peoples around the world.  How proud can anyone possibly be when your very existence is predicated upon some mythical version of superiority?  And yet you guys are the smart ones?   So sorry, but I didn't get that Tweet, could you possibly send it again?  


One way I often see how those who commit racefail derail the conversation is to blame those who bring it to light as being hypersensitive.  I seriously laugh at this because these folks never once stop to consider how that hypersensitivity came about in the first place.  Little babies do not come out of the womb knowing that the color of their skin might be held against them.  Hypersensitivity is not a genetic trait.  Something had to happen in order for hypersensitivity to occur, and sadly this is the experience for a lot of PoC.  Trust me, we're not looking for instances of racefail, but damn, so many people out there make it so easy to find.  I guess it's true controversy sells and what better way to boost a flagging career than on the backs of people you despise? 

Oh wait, FoC's are so angry and that anger is what stops any sort of thoughful dialogue.  Oh yes, I know this derailing tactic too.  It's most often used against black women when they have the unmitigated gall to assert themselves and demand respect.  Of course there's anger; why shouldn't there be?  You offenders aren't listening!  You're intent upon shutting down the conversation because it's uncomfortable.  Well duh!  Of course it's uncomforable.  Imagine what PoC live with everyday and stop acting like wusses.  Honest and open dialogue about issues like race and gender aren't always going to be warm and fuzzy.  They shouldn't be.  We're talking about people's real life experiences and the pain of feeling like not belonging or having any value.  Eric Holder, the Attorney General was so right--we are a nation of cowards.

However, all is not darkness and despair.  As I said, FoC's have always been here and will continue to be a huge thorn in the side of racefail.  We're not waiting around for racefailers to grow up, but have our own blogs, books, sites for costuming and other awesome things.  We're using our dollars to boycott whitewashing of books and films.  We're not powerless, and perhaps that's what scares the racefail crowd most of all.  So here's my suggestion--step away from the privilege, shut up and be good little listeners when people who know far better tell you wnat's going on.  

What Is UP With All The Hate?

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I just felt the serious need to re-post this:

http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/18/fandom-and-its-hatred-of-black-women-characters/

This is one of the huge reasons I stay far away from most fandoms.  There is so much epic RaceFail going on and when the offenders get called out on it, they whine about not being "racist" (as if the only real racists wear sheets or have swastikas tattooed on their bodies), or they make it seem as if PoC's are the ones who are racist.

The older I get, the less tolerant I am of stupidity.  As a woman of color, my purpose is NOT to educate people on racial sensitivity.  Use the power of the internet to educate YOURSELF.  And when you make idiotic or racist statements, at least have the guts to own up to them, then sit down and shut up when others explain WHY YOU ARE WRONG.  Then APOLOGIZE.  That's what evolving HUMANS do.

The Vixenne's Top 30 People I'd Love to Do

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It’s that time of the year again, sweetings, where The Vixenne lists her Top 30 People I’d Love to Do…or better yet, have them do bad things to me.  It seems this list gets longer and longer but damn, there's just so many beautiful people in this world who need me to lust over them.   

The names are in no particular order and all depends on mood and hair colour.  In some cases I’ll even post a few photos so you too can enjoy all the deliciously decadent goodness that makes having sex fantasies so very worthwhile.

1. Sean Bean and Viggo Mortensen – Is it just me or are these two getting hotter as they get older?

2. Perttu Kivilaakso and Eicca ToppinenFrom Apocalyptica. Perttu is just pure sin and what he does on a cello should be considered indecent.  And what can one say about Eicca and those incredible glacier-blue eyes and that mass of blonde hair?  These two make me want to move to Finland!  Who cares if it's cold?  With guys like them around, I'll be plenty warm, never fear LOL.
The lips on this man...well, look at them!

3. Karl Urban – Honestly I don’t think this man ever has a bad hair day.  Scruffy just looks good on him.

4. Rain – From Ninja Assassin.  This man’s got the abs from god!  He’s also an incredibly talented singer.  Go K-Pop!

5. Floor Jensen - Lead singer of the now disbanded metal band After Forever, but who’s back with ReVamp.  A bodacious redhead with a voice that is simply awesome!!!

6. Simone Simmons – Lead singer of Epica.  Yet another bodacious redhead with a killer voice.  All I can say is, lucky fucking Oliver!

7. Morgan LeCroix – Lead singer of Mandragora Scream.  She’s got these totally unique features and a voice that can blast paint from walls.

8. Steve Perry of Journey – Always my very first lust object and still one of the best rock vocalists in the world.

9. Djimon Honsou – Come on, all that luscious chocolate skin from head to toe...how could you not want him too?  Unfortunately I question his taste in women.  Kimora Lee Simmons?  NOT!

10. Seal – Striking looks and an incredible voice. Lucky woman, that Heidi Klum!

11. Vanyel from Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald Mage trilogy – Fantasy fiction's most famous gay male character.  It's the long dark hair.

12. Oscar Wilde – Yes, I know, he was gay, but we still could have had a lot of fun together.  Not to mention he was a very snappy dresser, and I’m a sucker for sartorial splendor.

13. Lord Byron – Mad, bad and dangerous to know.  Just my type.

14. Khan of Kamelot – "Ooh". That's all.  When this man dresses in semi-priestly garb, I just feel like confessing to whatever he wants and of course penance is NO problem!  This man makes evil look good.

15. Zechs Merquise from Gundam Wing – The platinum-haired demigod who just made my panties wet every time he spoke.  Duh, I know he’s an anime character, but does mean he can’t be hot?

16. Vane Kattalakis from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter saga – He would pwn that puppy Jacob Black without lifting a paw.  He’s got a brother named Fang.  Works for me. 

17. Yuki from the manga series, Sensual Phrase He's even hotter than the lead singer of Lucifer, Sakuya.  Plays guitar, has mounds of long black hair and is too pretty for words.  (Yes I have a thing for men with long, dark hair which explains my significant other).

18. Alex Rowe from the anime series, Last Exile – He's tall, dark haired and brooding like every good gothic hero should be.  He's a man of few words and the cool under fire (to a point) captain of  The Silvana.  He also has a cane that's a rifle (a sure one-up on the old sword canes).

19. Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter) – He's of age now so he's fair game!

20. Keith Hamilton Cobb from Andromeda – When his character was gone, there wasn’t any reason to watch anymore.  Those dreds, those lips...I met him by the way, and ladies, he's insanely gorgeous in RL.

21. Grace Jones – The uber diva, and the woman I want to be when I grow up.  Sorry Lady Gaga, but Grace did it first and best!

22. Timmo Koltipelto of Stratovarius – Okay, so I'm also a sucker for hot blonde vocalists with long hair...and well, he's hot!

23. Tobias Sammet of Edguy/Advantasia – Yes, another hot blonde metal god who can tie me up and make me call him daddy.

24. Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho of Children of Bodom – There’s definitely a reason he’s called wildchild and I’d be open to finding out why. 

25. Russell Allen of Symphony X – This man is tall, and I’m by no means a short chick.  His voice is just amazing and he’s a very nice person in RL.  

26. Gackt Camui – Formerly of Malice Mizer and now solo.  This man is too effing beautiful for words (especially with the cornrows).  Those lips, those eyes...Okay, so he claims to be a 468 year-old vampire...with looks like that, he can be whatever the hell he wants to be, and he can bite me any time he chooses!  Some men do not have a right to be that fucking beautiful!

27. HydeOf L'arc en Ciel and Vamps.  Is there something in the water over in Japan that makes their men so indescribably hot?  He’s got a killer voice, a hot bod and looks fucking awesome to be in his 40’s (hell, so do I).  Thing is, I'd have to woo him away from Gackt who says that he'd marry Hyde if he were female. That tongue has fueled a million fantasies...

28. Mikaru (formerly of Dio Distraught Overlord) – Again I ask the question whether there’s something in the water over there?  He’s got a totally distinctive vocal style, and I love when he does death-style growls.

29. Daemon Sadi from Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series – Uhm, well, he’s near-immortal, was trained as a pleasure slave and well his nickname is The Sadist and for a very good reason.  When he purrs about “dancing with The Sadist”, I just want to.

30. Fei Long Liu from The Viewfinder manga series by Ayano Yamane – All hail the king of bishonen men! Just looking at him holding a gun or the opium pipe and all that luscious black hair dressed in traditional Chinese garb…there’s just nothing better.


Moving all my fanfic

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I decided to move all of my fanfic to another LJ which I'm in the process of updating.  This one I want to use as for my non-fiction and essays.  If you have friended me in the past and am interested in following me to my "new" home, drop me a line.  I will be rejoining all of my groups as well, so it's like starting from the ground up.  A lot of work, but I'm looking forward to it.

By the way, the new LJ is called What Angels Fear.  All friends, both old and new, are VERY welcome!!!

On Color and Cosplay

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The Passing of a Metal Icon

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The metal world has lost one of its most distinctive and powerful voices.  Ronnie James Dio passed away today. 

I know metal probably isn't "cool" anymore, but there are some of us who still love this music and continue to keep the faith. 

I became a fan of Dio's after I first heard him on the album Heaven and Hell.  The power that he had just floored me.  He was singing from a place that few artists are gifted enough to tap into and he made me feel that.   Dio wasn't this pretty-boy rocker, but what made him so amazing was the passion that came through each and every song.  I guess I can liken him to a heavy metal soul singer. 

Right now I'm listening to The Last in Line.  One of my all-time favorite songs:

We're a ship without a storm
The cold without the warm
Light inside the darkness that it needs

We're a laugh without a tear
The hope without the fear
We are coming home...


Ronnie James Dio...you are coming home...much love to your family, especially your wonderful wife Wendy (my prayers go out to you) and friends.

My uncle - Larry Richard Reed

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My uncle passed away this morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.  He was one of the first black surfers in Southern California during the early sixties.  This was at a time when a lot of the beaches were still segregated (yes, even Los Angeles lived under segregation back then).  He was an iconoclast too (it runs in the family).  He collected and trained pigeons, loved fishing and classic rock like The Stones.  He was tall and skinny with a big afro.  Even while everyone else was jheri-curling their hair, uncle Larry just let his grow.  He was always kind of a hippie.  He was in the trucking business like his father and my father. Together, those three pretty much built was is the modern L.A. and Century City skylines, something I seldom miss a chance bragging to snobby westsiders.  They were truckers--my uncle's CB handle was 'The One Mighty Witch Doctor' and my father was 'The L.A. Maniac' (because he drove like one, lol).  He drove an old green MG roadster and was a jet engine mechanic in the service.

Right now, I'm numb..  Death is one of those things I have my own ways of dealing with.  I loathe funerals, always have.  I see them as family drama times ten and a way for people who really didn't give a damn to pretend that  they did.  I'm certainly not going to sit in front of a gray casket with nothing but a shell inside when my uncle was such a lively personality.  He might have been skinny but he had presence.  I'll miss hearing him and my dad call each other silly names like "lonnie lunchmeat".  I will mourn my uncle in my own way and in my own time.  To be honest, I don't think he'd be happy about all of the tears and stuff.  I may start surfing again myself as a tribute to the awesome person he was.

The only thing that comforts me is that he didn't suffer in the end.  My father (his brother) and my aunt (his wife) were there and he saw them and he knew that we all loved him.  He took one deep breath and slipped the bonds of this mortal coil.  He didn't have to be hooked up to any machines, save the morphine drip.  The doctors had given him two months last year.  My uncle lived for four months, even celebrating his birthday.  I worry about my father.  He broke down and that made me lose it.  My brother is even worse.  He's very angry with God and the last thing anyone can do or say is to start talking about "God's plan".  My brother might go off and punch them in the face.

I've cried a little, but want to cry when I don't have to excuse it and when I can let the tears run down my cheeks and the snot run down my nose and my body racked with sobs.  I don't want sympathy or scriptures or any of that, at least not yet.  In the immortal words of country-western singer Terri Clarke, "I just want to be mad/sad for a while".

My uncle Larry rocked!  I love him and  miss him.

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