Even at a conference that had a Black theme, White people dominate the conversation
A few months ago, a friend invited me to go to a conference with her that had Afrofuturism as the theme. For those that don’t know what that means, it’s a subgenre in speculative fiction that features futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of Black history and culture. I didn’t take long to decide to accompany her. As I’ve read some works in the genre by authors such as Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisen, the chance to celebrate this aspect of my heritage seemed too good to pass up.
I just came back from it. In hindsight, I should have known better than to expect anything akin to a celebration of creative people who looked like me. The organizers of the conference were from a non-profit organization that supports art and the study of it in the speculative fiction genre. The conference consisted of both scholars and professional writers, which is unusual. However, in practice, the conference turned out to be yet another display of Whiteness as most of the presenters and attendees were White.
How To Make A Bad Impression
I didn’t have a good impression of the conference initially due to an incident that occurred within an hour of checking into the hotel. After checking into my room to wash my hands as well as put my jacket and luggage away, I went back downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant for a bite to eat. I was starving as I hadn’t had anything to eat since early that morning aside from some corn chips. I sat for about a half hour without anyone on staff coming by to even give me water. Mind you, this took place in a five-star hotel. My friend was not with me as she took a later flight.
It’s a sad indictment for me to say that it wasn’t the first time in my life that I’ve gotten poor service at a restaurant, and it won’t be the last. Of course, it didn’t feel good to get ignored and I immediately surmised that my skin color contributed to the poor treatment I received. Three older White people sitting at the next table eventually flagged someone down. A woman in a uniform who said she wasn’t even a waitress, came by to take my order. “We’ll bring the food out real quick as you’ve been waiting a long time,” she stated. I got the food within…