Diversity

Published on June 9, 2011 by

There’s been a little buzz in the blogosphere about the complete lack of ethnic diversity among the Nebula Award Winners this year. But as a matter of fact, one of the five Nebula winners is Hispanic — as far as I can tell, I am the first Hispanic to win a Nebula.  (“As far as I can tell” is an important qualifier, because you can’t always detect a person’s ethnic heritage by looking at the person’s name or skin color.  So there may have been previous Hispanic Nebula winners whose ethnic background I’m unaware of.  But I asked on Twitter & Facebook two weeks ago if there had been any Hispanic Nebula winners, and nobody replied with any information.)

I am the child of an Argentine immigrant to the United States.  Although born in the U.S., I lived mostly in Latin America before age eleven, and was brought up bilingual in English and Spanish.

Here’s a scan from the Argentine passport I had when I was two years old:

See my name there? Erico Santiago Stone.  (I figure “Erico” and “Stone” are pretty clear, but in case you don’t know, “Santiago” is Spanish for “James” [literally “Saint James”].)  Don’t I look cute in my poncho?  I think I’m about to fall out of that chair, though.

As a way of honoring my Hispanic heritage, I often use Hispanic characters in my stories.  For example, the second most important character in my Nebula-winning story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made,” solcetologist Juanita Merced, is Hispanic.  The story I just sold to Analog, “Lobstersaurus,” has main characters of Hispanic ancestry who are colonists on an alien planet.  And my favorite unpublished story, in which all the characters except the alien are Argentine, is currently submitted to a major market.

(For those expecting me to now present some sort of political twist in which I reveal I’m actually talking about global warming or the national debt or something — sorry to disappoint you.  I’m telling the truth.  And I decided I didn’t want to get political in this post and discuss the pros or cons of identity politics, whether in the spec-fic field or in general; I’m just presenting the fact that I’m Hispanic and that I’m happy to have that heritage.)

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6 comments on “Diversity”

  1. Patty Jansen says:

    For what it’s worth, I like Santiago much better than James ;-)

  2. Heidi says:

    I resisted the urge to make a snarky comment about the authenticity of your birth certificate–I mean passport–and am saying instead, Wow! That’s really cool! And what a cute little kid you were!

  3. John Brown says:

    Dude, I had no idea. Here’s to the first, probably, Hispanic Nebulite.

  4. Laurie Tom says:

    I will say that is an adorable picture. While I’m inclined to agree with Patty, I have a special affection for the name James, so I’ll just say that Santiago does have an exotic ring to the American ear. :)

  5. My brother calls it “stealth diversity” when your looks/name let you blend. Most people just think he likes exotic things: they don’t realize he grew up with certain foods and stories at home because that’s where our ancestors are from.

  6. robit says:

    hi
    i like your blog and I agree with Patty its an gorgeous pictures