Representation matters

Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman and the first civilian to make it to space. This was 1963. It would be 20 years until another woman went into space. She was also Russian. By this time, the United States had female astronauts in training, but had yet to send one into the cosmos. When it happened, it was physicist Sally Ride. The first African-American woman would not launch into space until 1992.

Young adult sci-fi author and Louisville resident Olivia A. Cole has been thinking for awhile about where women fit in space travel. She wants to be sure that young women, particularly young women of color, understand that there is a place for women in the future and in space. For that reason, and also to promote her most recent novel, “A Conspiracy of Stars,” Cole is hosting a female-only art show called “Kindred: Making Space in Space” The show at St. Francis High School’s event space March 16 is open to Louisville women ages 10 to 21, and is inspired by Cole’s science fiction hero Octavia Butler whose bestselling novel, Kindred, was the inspiration behind the name of the show and to whom Cole refers as the “mother of science fiction.”

Butler’s work as an African-American woman was important for many reasons. The need for representation of color in the science fiction and fantasy worlds, where tropes of “orcs and elves” are often racist cover-ups for the notion of black people as beastly marauding monsters and our white counterparts as light, attractive and ethereal creatures. Butler imagined worlds that broke racial boundaries and stereotypes as well as those of gender and sexuality.

Read More ›

When protesting becomes dangerous

Indiana tattoo artist Amber Bananafish went to the Louisville Women’s March, held on the anniversary weekend of Donald Trump’s inauguration. As Bananafish and her friends Jem and Alysia Elwood were entering the crowd, a middle-aged, white man greeted her with... Read More ›

Religion creep

Kentucky’s so-called “Bible literacy” courses in public schools appear to have already wandered outside the boundaries of the Constitution. Or so says the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, but that is not the most shocking revelation. What astounds is... Read More ›

2018 on deck, the tarot cards say…

The ugly march of fascist, tiki torch-bearing, right-wing politics surfaced on American televisions and in our streets in 2017.  Americans from the center and left responded. The division cost us lives. What is to happen to America? I don’t know,... Read More ›

Masculinity is a pathology

Matt Lauer, the former “Today” show host accused of sexual harassment, offered an apology recently: “There are no words to express the sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions.” Thanks, but no thanks,... Read More ›