So, as decided in Book Club Monday night, we will be talking about race next meeting. In particular, we'll look at some essays written during the latest massive online discussion about race, which is still on-going. (People are calling it "RaceFail 2009").
Basically, what happened was a blogger who goes by Avalon's Willow posted a critique of Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron, in terms of cultural appropriation. Bear responded to AW's open letter in her own online journal, basically saying that it was a fair critique. The RaceFail spiraled out of that, though. Fans of Bear left lots of heinous comments, published authors and editors in the field said some pretty dumb things, and then the posts on people's personal journals exploded all over the place.
For the purposes of next month's Book Club, we'll be reading the following specific four essays:
Deepad's "I Didn't Dream of Dragons"
Deepad's "White People, It's Not All About You, But For This Post It Is"
"We Worry About It, Too"
Coffeeandink's "How to Suppress Discussions of Racism"
With the exception of the last link (which came after the last Cultural Appropriation Debate of DOOM, circa 2006....which, much like this one, did not actually discuss Cultural Appropriation barely at all!), these posts are all related to the current RaceFail 2009. If you would like more context, or simply to read more about what people are saying in general, then you might go to this exhaustive collection of links. Beware, it really is exhaustive! And also, still being updated as people continue to post things. http://rydra-wong.livejournal.com/146697.html
Lots of the people involved on both sides of the discussion are Wiscon regulars/alumni, which is part of why we're talking about this.
In that same vein.....If you're uncomfortable with discussions about race, mystickeeper put together a "101 Primer" a couple of weeks ago, which people have found useful. I personally found each link helpful in dealing with my own white privilege. It can be found here: http://mystickeeper.livejournal.com/303397.html
In addition, antarcticlust suggests one more reading; she says: If you're interested, I also like this post by CoffeeAndInk, which is in response to David Levine's reaction (linked at the top). It succinctly covers the "so, what, we can't write people of color characters anymore because it'll make you mad?" response.
How Not to Engage in Discussions of Cultural Appropriation