Charles Tan describes how he attempts to compensate for hidden bias while curating science fiction links.
…As of mid-April of this year (if you examine the archive of SF Signal Tidbits, you can identify the trend), there was a conscious decision (arbitrary just means unconscious bias) on which author interview was at the top of the Tidbits.
I’ll be frank. There’s a lot of causes that need championing: World SF. People of Color. LGBT. Women. Gender. YA. If it were up to me, I’d post a book cover of a World SF book every day. But that’s not possible on a consistent basis (either there’s not enough interviews going around or their book isn’t listed on Amazon); it’s probably a valid criticism that I’m probably not looking hard enough. So I went with a criteria that’s broad enough: women.
Admittedly, there are days when I can’t find interviews with women in the field, but that’s the exception rather than the norm (if you want stats, just look at the archives of Tidbits starting mid-April that’s attributed to me; or better yet, compare it when I wasn’t deliberate in my selection). Failing that, I try my other criteria, such as World SF, people of color, LGBT authors, etc…
And that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do here (though I haven’t had a lot of time for Tumblr lately)—filtering through geek stuff for POC authors or fans or characters, especially for things related to race issues in fandom. I have to admit, when I started this blog I thought it was going to be hard finding things to post, I guess because generally geeky sites tend to be overwhelmingly white. But there’s actually more stuff than I can keep up with!
I don’t think it’s so much that there’s more POC sf stuff now—though there are a lot of up-and-coming authors lately, like N. K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Charles Yu, Malinda Lo, Saladin Ahmed, etc.—as that I have biases like everyone else, and I just had to start actively working to notice things I unconsciously would overlook.
Also I totally didn’t notice Charles Tan’s putting women authors first until he mentioned it, but you better believe I see it now when looking through the links.