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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint.

May10

For those of you unaware, I’m on Good Reads. I enter First Reads contests and was lucky enough to score a copy of Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations, edited by Paula Guran. I’m about 2/3s through and was really enjoying it, my only regret that the Sarah Monette story in it is one I’ve already read, when Patricia Briggs’ “Star Of David” really threw me for a loop. A big old racist loop.

The story is called “Star Of David” even though nobody in the story is, apparently, Jewish. There’s a kid who’s Romany and in the foster care system, and he’s ~~A GYPSY~ and ~~A WIZARD~~ because “Most wizards have at least a little Gypsy blood.” Gypsies: they are magical paranormal creatures, not human beings! Totally fictional fantasy creatures! WITH MAGIC POWERS!!! His great grandmother “survived Dachau because the American troops came just in time — and because she kept her mouth shut when the Nazis wanted information.” Unlike all those dead Romany and Jews who didn’t keep their mouths shut and thus deserved to die or something? I don’t even know. PRO TIP MS BRIGGS: It is Jewish people who were marked with the Star of David, while Romany (and lesbians) were marked with a black triangle.

She also makes a snide comment about how “rich people” don’t foster or adopt kids in the US foster system (which is untrue and a weird thing to say), and that instead they chose babies from China or Romania. Which, ok, the story was first published back in 2008, but Romania outlawed foreign adoption back in 2004 due to concerns about black market babies and ESPECIALLY about babies being stolen (or bought) from impoverished Romany women. Like, the government had straight up concerns that some women were being turned into baby making factories for export and said hey now, enough of that. You haven’t been able to get a Romanian baby for a VERY long time unless you can prove you’re related fairly closely to said baby (or child). Maybe in 2007/2008 babies from Africa and Haiti weren’t a big deal yet so she didn’t mention them? Or maybe she’s buying into the idea that that Romany and Romanian are basically the same thing and just had LOLGYPSIES on the brain?

The main character, Stella, has “milk and coffee skin” and dark kinky hair, but her (werewolf) father who literally tore her mother to shreds, killing her in a domestic dispute, has skin “dark as the night” which keeps him “safely hidden in the shadows where he and people like him belonged.” So you’ve got a dark skinned Black man who literally is a violent animal, who murdered his wife (oops, but it was an accident, he’s really a good guy, HASN’T HE SUFFERED ENOUGH?????), and who needs to stay in the shadows where “people like him” (not WEREWOLVES like him, PEOPLE like him) belong.

This anthology features Jim Butcher, Elizabeth Bear, and Sarah Monette– three authors who’ve had moments of infamy for racism in their work/social media dealings– and WHOMP WHOMP here comes a fourth spouting off about fantasy Gypsies being inherently magical. Good job dehumanizing a group of people already widely dehumanized!

I’m so fucking tired of this. I’m really tired of feeling like I’m walking through a pleasant grassy field studded with daisies and WHOOPS! hidden landmines. Am I going to step on one? Is this the step that’s going to lead me into a racist explosion? How about this one? Whooops, just stepped on a sexist landmine! KABOOM! Consuming media shouldn’t be this fucking stressful. And, you know, I’m a white girl in an acceptably monogamous heterosexual relationship, so racism and homophobia bother me but they don’t get under my skin in a personal way the way they do for other people because they aren’t as personal (duh). But it’s still an issue and it’s an issue I am just so fucking tired of running into. Surely we can do better? It’s the fucking 21st century!

I was really getting into this book, making notes about authors I want to read more of. And now I’m reluctant to read further because if the editor let something like Briggs’ story slip in, what’s to stop there being more of the same?

Briggs also has a fantasy series about a were-coyote who is Native American. I’m sure it’s handled with all the deft grace and sensitivity she’s handled this short story.

7 Comments to

“Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint.”

  1. On May 10th, 2013 at 3:13 pm brigidkeely Says:

    http://t.co/PPx6lNf9di BLOG POST in which I discuss racism in a short story.

  2. On May 10th, 2013 at 8:03 pm meoskop Says:

    RT @brigidkeely: Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint.: For those of you unaware, I’m on Good Reads. I enter First Reads contests and wa… http…

  3. On May 11th, 2013 at 11:06 am Karnythia Says:

    Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint. http://t.co/UNt64OxLyR This book sounds like the hottest of messes.

  4. On May 11th, 2013 at 11:19 am carlamlee Says:

    RT @Karnythia: Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint. http://t.co/UNt64OxLyR This book sounds like the hottest of messes.

  5. On May 11th, 2013 at 11:32 am Skyliting Says:

    RT @Karnythia: Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint. http://t.co/UNt64OxLyR This book sounds like the hottest of messes.

  6. On May 11th, 2013 at 1:13 pm tangokitten Says:

    RT @Karnythia: Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint. http://t.co/UNt64OxLyR This book sounds like the hottest of messes.

  7. On May 11th, 2013 at 1:47 pm Kriatyrr Says:

    RT @Karnythia: Patricia Briggs, I Am Disapoint. http://t.co/UNt64OxLyR This book sounds like the hottest of messes.