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Originally posted by kate_nepveu at Con or Bust NOW taking requests for July-September cons!
Con or Bust is pleased to announce that as of this very moment, and through May 31, fans of color/non-white fans may request assistance to attend SFF cons in July, August, and September 2011.

Because there was no advance notice that we'd be taking requests, please repost and link to this post far and wide so that people know that assistance is possible. I will announce the precise amount after WisCon, once the T-shirt sales are counted up and I hear from some cons I've contacted, but a minimum of $600 will be available to help fans of color attend cons for the next three months, plus two memberships to Renovation, the 2011 WorldCon, generously donated by Renovation itself.

Read this post for how to request assistance. Donate con memberships by e-mailing knepveu@steelypips.org. Donate money with a PayPal account or credit card with this button:

Or learn more about Con or Bust generally. And thank you for your help in spreading the word!

An addendum from the Readercon concom:

Readercon fully supports Con or Bust and their mission, and especially welcomes the opportunity to reach out to fans who otherwise wouldn't attend the convention. Visible diversity will help a wider range of fans feel comfortable at Readercon, and diverse voices and perspectives on Readercon panels will contribute to broader and deeper conversations. Fandom has been de facto segregated for a very long time, and we are proud to join Con or Bust in working toward changing that. To this end, Readercon will be making a $200 donation to Con or Bust in 2011.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2011 12:33 pm (UTC)
and through May 31, fans of color/non-white fans may request assistance

Am I reading this right? You people are providing financing on the basis of RACE and SKIN COLOR?

Are people supposed to submit pictures of themselves so you can judge whether they've got the right skin shade to qualify?

What makes you think anyone's going to help you promote a racist scheme like that?
May. 21st, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Hi, I run Con or Bust and thus am the "you people" you are addressing.

As the "learn more" post linked to states, Con or Bust was started in response to RaceFail '09 by people of color (non-white people) who wanted to help each other attend SFF cons, because we saw a need to support each other and felt that we and the cons would be better for the presence of a more diverse membership of interested fans.

I assure you that I am well aware that there is not necessarily a visual way to determine a person's race, ancestry, or ethnic background. Thus, the linked post which explains how to request assistance, and the form by which people request assistance, ask people to discuss their identity as people of color/non-white people, and eventually to formally reconfirm that they are eligible and applying in good faith. That's all.

Over three years, Con or Bust has helped dozens of people attend WisCon. It is now expanding to assist fans of color attend other SFF cons. It is run under the umbrella of the Carl Brandon Society, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. As the administrator, I have been pleased and grateful for the wide community support that Con or Bust has received.

Of course, neither I nor anyone else expect that everyone will be interested in supporting Con or Bust. But I hope this addresses any misconceptions you may have had.
May. 21st, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Whether the applicants are selected by a board of race referees or declare their own race in order to be eligible, the principle in question remains the same.
May. 21st, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure we're not going to agree on this, so I don't want to belabor you/the point. But I do wish to put my position on the record for anyone else reading this.

I regard the most useful definition of racism to be a system of institutional oppression and disadvantages based on ideas about race. Therefore, I do not regard efforts to counter that system by increasing representation of marginalized groups as racist.

You apparently regard any distinctions based on race as racist. That is a common opinion, and while I do not hold it myself, I do recognize that it can coincide with good-faith efforts to reduce the harmful effects of race-based prejudices and oppressions. In any event, you are certainly under no obligation to support Con or Bust or its goals.
May. 21st, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
Communities and organizations dedicated to serving specific groups are legion. They have created hundreds of scholarships, grants, and other programs for which applicants are eligible on the basis of their ancestry or other fundamental characteristics. For example, when I was gathering financial aid for grad school, I applied for a scholarship offered by a Welsh-American organization which was open exclusively to persons of Welsh ancestry--and you had to be able to prove it. Freemasons have scholarships for the children of Freemasons, college alumnae associations have programs for their alumnaes, Christian denominations have grants and scholarships exclusively for self-avowed Christians...the list goes on and on.

Most of these programs are based on the assumption--which is often accurate--that members of the identified group suffer certain disadvantages, whether a tendency to be lower-income, a history of discrimination, cultural misinformation or misunderstandings, and so on. In other cases, organizations based on affinity simply want to support and encourage their own members.

Con or Bust is a program in this same spirit. It was created, at least in part, in response to the reality that persons of color attend conventions in proportions far lower than their presence in either fandom or among professional writers. There may be other reasons for this than financial need, but Con or Bust is a honorable effort to make persons of color feel more welcome at conventions. I'm delighted to see Readercon participate in Con or Bust.
May. 21st, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
I think you're missing the point here
As a sociologist I can probably help sort this out without being or sounding "dickish".

The thing is that modern media shows any SFF events as mainly white, male 17-34 age groups at most Conventions. While this has changed and more women have been attending in equal numbers there's still idiotic paradigms prescribed by media groups that want to force people into believing certain "schemas" and asinine world views. It doesn't help when TV shows like "Breaking In" have a token African American (Black) male who's the sci-fi geek and makes it out that most people at SDCC and other cons are very white and nerdy.

Kate Nepvue is doing her best to help stop discrimination based on ethnicity stereotyping. The whole Anime conventions is nothing but Asians running around is a stupid and idiotic stereotyping. The Con or Bust staff is trying to encourage more non-white sci-fi fans to attend these events. It's a positive effort to show that SFF community is NOT Racist, Sexist, or just plain old assholic Bigots.

This effort is a positive based attempt to help disenfranchised sci-fi fans, who are down on their luck fiscally. While, Yes it's "targeted" towards the non-white/Caucasian people, there's a valid reason for it in that it's a way to encourage what is seen as a way to help encourage more social diversity in SFF fandom at events like Con or Bust.

Now, some people may get their panties in a bunch because it sounds unfair to other fiscally disenfranchised people. I think that this is the community reaching out to be social just and fair towards people of "color" and try to bring more people into the SFF fandom. When people get upset its understandable, but instead of looking at it negatively. Try to imagine that this is the start of a positive movement towards being social equal without intentionally being insulting (directly or indirectly). I think that there can be a positive thing in this case instead of people getting all pissy and upset.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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