SDCC 2014 – a slow but disappointing evolution of geek diversity


Late last year after visiting New York Comic Con, I had decided that San Diego Comic Con (aka geek mecca) was going on my bucket list.

Despite the distance, cost and my potential unease of being in large crowds of people who totally out-geek me (yes, there is a geek hierarchy and I fall in the slack geek category) I was wanting to attend, however, thanks to a lack of funds I didn’t make it this year.

HOWEVER, I did what I do every year which is analyse the program and watch the panels on YouTube (yes, living vicariously through a computer again) and I had mixed feelings about the programming.

It was clear that the SDCC creators have started to understand that the geek population – consumers, fans, creators, etc – are more diverse than just your standard Sheldon Cooper.

This year had a number of panels focussing on female empowerment or individual women who are making waves in the geek world. Similarly they attempted to delve into the LGBTI geek community (missing out the “I” in the acronym) and even had a panel about transgender trends in popular culture.

Total props for the trans panel in particular and if they managed to get Laverne Cox on it (not sure at this stage), massive props – that woman is a goddess.

But I digress.

I guess my concern is that whilst they had female panels, LGBT (no I written on purpose), ONE trans panel, a couple of black panels and one Mexican/Latino panel, the creators ignored the presence of natives in geek culture.

I’m sorry but did you miss Avatar, The Lone Ranger, the “Indian Chiefs” in The Lego Movie, the announcement that Warpath (a native Xmen character) will be in the upcoming film or that a non-native will be playing Tigerlilly in yet another Peter Pan iteration?!

Now If in my probably one to two hours I missed native content I completely retract all I’m writing right now but if I am correct in my assumption, San Diego Comic Con WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!

You are hosting your conference on native land.

Natives are consistently misrepresented in popular and geek culture and it is NOT COOL to silence their voices in the geek community.

I grew up thinking being a geek was going against my culture but since little Ebs grew up, I’ve recognised that we can and are geeks. We are allowed to assert our role within the geek community and there needs to be more respect for the traditional owners of the land you are capable of having your conference on to be able to discuss native issues.

While I don’t believe the misrepresentation of any minority group in popular culture is an isolated, e.g. “native issue”, it is something that as intelligent human beings of a certain community that we should be able to come together and discuss.

As educated and critical thinkers, we should have the opportunity to air our concerns about our representations; and I say that as an Indigenous woman. I am not a native person from Turtle Island but I stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the US and Canada who are consistently disrespected by popular culture and yes, geek culture.

If we, as geeks, want to stand on a pedestal based on our intelligence and acceptance of “the other” – the “underdog” who was bullied at school; how about we turn our attention to Native Americans and Canadians who are STILL the underdog.

They, like my people, are over-represented in all negative socio-economic and health indicators. In many ways, like us, they don’t have the political weight to assert a better world for themselves, which means, as allies, y’all should step the fuck up.

SDCC, next year I want at least ONE native focussed panel. You set the game of cons stateside and you should know better.

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