Friday, August 7, 2009

From Mindblowing to Mindfulness

When the table of contents of a forthcoming anthology, The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF edited by Mike Ashley, was posted online people commented that none of the authors were women or people of color. Yes, that’s a problem. I’d like to offer a possible new direction.

Years ago, I did some hiring at a certain university in California, and whenever we had a job opening I would receive a letter from the university's diversity officer asking me to be mindful of the gender and racial diversity of our employees. The letter was a welcome reminder for me and it caused me to take stock of how well the people under my supervision reflected the diversity of the pool of applicants and the general population.

Selecting stories for an anthology isn’t exactly the same as hiring employees, but I hope we can agree that consideration of diversity applies to both. What if, whenever an editor announces that an anthology is open for submissions, the SFWA diversity officer sent the editor an email reminder to be mindful of the gender and racial diversity of the authors? What’s that you say? SFWA (new redesigned website) doesn’t have a diversity officer? Perhaps that would be the place to start.


Sf Signal: the Mindblowing table of contents followed by many interesting and/or ill-considered comments.

Angry Black Woman: an intelligent and funny, if overly caustic, dissection of one of the comments on the SF Signal thread. a thoughtful post on the topic and many more comments

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