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Imagine Otherwise: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas on Leaving No One Behind

Imagine Otherwise: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas on Leaving No One Behind

retro
May 22, 2019

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas wearing a pink sweater and shell earrings

 

How can children’s literature help us make sense of an ever-changing world? Why is speculative fiction having such a moment in contemporary popular culture? How might theorizing and creating cultural production increase our capacity for hope?

In episode 89 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast, host Cathy Hannabach interviews education professor and young adult novelist Ebony Elizabeth Thomas about why young adult fantasy and speculative fiction is so popular with adults and media companies alike in our current moment, Ebony’s recommendations for recent and awesome speculative fiction by and about people of color, how writing in creative genres like fan fiction and novels can enliven scholarship, and why studying, championing, and creating children’s literature that leaves no one behind is how Ebony imagines otherwise.

Guest: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is an associate professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she was a member of the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color’s 2008–2010 cohort, served on the NCTE Conference on English Education’s Executive Committee from 2013 until 2017, and is the immediate past chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research.

Currently, she serves as co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English, and her most recent book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019).

We chatted about

  • Ebony’s new book The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (02:05)
  • The popularity of young adult and children’s literature in our current moment (03:53)
  • Race in speculative fiction and Afrofuturism (06:57)
  • Ebony’s recommended young adult and children’s literature (11:03)
  • The iterative process of writing a young adult fantasy novel (19:00)
  • Working at the intersection of theory and cultural production (23:57)
  • Imagining otherwise (26:47)

Takeaways

The background to Ebony’s new book The Dark Fantastic

I was always a lover of all things magical and all things futuristic and I gravitated towards those stories. I also enjoyed reading stories about the Black past, but it seems as if the two circles never intersected in the perfect Venn diagram. I’m sure as a child I couldn’t explain it like that, but stories that were fun, that were imaginative, and that could transport you into another world were one thing and stories that could give you a sense of the past and reality were another. You rarely saw Black characters in speculative fiction. I wanted to find out why because when they began to appear more in the 1990s and throughout the 2000s and 2010s in the early digital age fandoms, I realized that they just were not being received very well. As a matter of fact, you see that even today with some characters of color, particularly girls and women of color.

The politics of children’s literature

Children’s literature as a category is relatively new in the span of human history. What we know of as literature for children is a post-Enlightenment phenomenon. Before the advent of children’s literature in the West and around the rest of the world, there was not this sense that stories were just for children, although there were always didactic and teaching stories throughout human history. In all of our cultures, humans use stories to teach children things. But myths, legends, and folklore, and even our religious stories and our deeply held beliefs as humans, they were for all people….Children’s literature as we know it or as we think of it is a category with ever-shifting boundaries. Because of that, I think that for people in a very confusing, postmodern digital age where the center doesn’t seem to be holding, revisiting those stories that feel mythic, that are at the very deepest part of us, holds tremendous allure for all kinds of audiences and all kinds of readers.

Celebrating Black girl magic in speculative fiction

One of the developments in publishing that I welcomed in 2018 was the rise of Black girl magic YA [young adult] fantasy. So for the first time in recent memory, four young adult novels featuring speculative fiction—so horror, fantasy, and science fiction—were published by Black women authors and featured Black teen protagonists. Those four books are Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, which has made the New York Times bestseller list; Dread Nation by Justina Ireland; A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney; and The Belles by Dhionelle Clayton, who actually just published the sequel, which is titled The Everlasting Rose….I am really excited to see more fantastic visions for our kids and our teens that are based on African diaspora myth from all over the world. We’re seeing much more diversity in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and I want to encourage publishers to continue that trend.

Ebony’s own YA fantasy novel-in-progress

I was just signed by the same literary agent that sold Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, a book that I really enjoyed….Her agent signed to me for my YA fantasy novel that I talk about in The Dark Fantastic, that I couldn’t publish when I was in my 20s. So 15 years later, I’m rewriting that and trying to get that out into the world….I wrote The Dark Fantastic after not being able to publish my own fantasy novel in the mid-2000s, which was a completely different cultural, publishing, and political landscape than we see today. Now, writing post-Dark Fantastic but also post-Obama, post-Trump, post-We Need Diverse Books, post- the Meyers’ father and son editorials in 2014 asking where are all the children of color and children’s books, it has been quite a different process.

Imagining otherwise

In the most recent season of Star Trek—I’ve been watching Star Trek: Discovery and gosh, it’s been one wonderful to watch a new series unfold—there’s a quote that says, “Starfleet is a promise. No one gets left behind.” And I think about something one of my beautiful colleagues, Dr. Cynthia Dillard, who does her work in both the United States and in Ghana, told me about a month ago: “In Ghana, no one gets lost.” Both of those quotes resonated with me to the point of tears because so much of modernity has been about loss and erasure and who profits and who gains.

So I’m thinking about not necessarily utopia, because I don’t believe in utopias, but thinking about the ways that stories can begin to bring us to a place of hope, where people aren’t lost, where people don’t get left behind, where we can have that decolonized imagination so that we can truly see each others’ faces. That is something that I worked toward and think about every single day.

More from Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Projects and people discussed

About Imagine Otherwise

Imagine Otherwise is a podcast about the people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice, and explore the nitty-gritty work of imagining and creating more just worlds. Check out full podcast episodes and show notes at ideasonfire.net/imagine-otherwise-podcast. Imagine Otherwise is hosted by Cathy Hannabach and produced by Ideas on Fire, an academic editing and consulting agency helping progressive, interdisciplinary scholars write and publish awesome texts, enliven public conversations, and create more just worlds.

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Episode transcript

Cathy Hannabach [00:03]: [upbeat music in background] Welcome to Imagine Otherwise, the podcast about the people and projects bridging art, activism, and academia to build better worlds. Episodes offer in-depth interviews with creators who use culture for social justice and explore the nitty-gritty work of imagining otherwise. I’m your host, Cathy Hannabach. [music fadeout]

[00:22] Ebony is an associate professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she was a member of the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color’s 2008–2010 cohort, served on the NCTE Conference on English Education’s Executive Committee from 2013 until 2017, and is the immediate past chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research.

Currently, she serves as co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English, and her most recent book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, which was published by NYU Press.

In our interview, Ebony and I chat about why young adult fantasy and speculative fiction is so popular with adults and media companies alike in our current moment, Ebony’s recommendations for recent and awesome speculative fiction by and about people of color, how writing in creative genres like fan fiction and novels can enliven scholarship, and why studying, championing, and creating children’s literature that leaves no one behind is how Ebony imagines otherwise.

[To Ebony] Thank you so much for being with us today, Ebony.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas: Thanks for having me.

Cathy: So you’re the author of a really exciting brand new book called The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games. Can you give our listeners a little bit of a sense of what that book covers and what got you excited about researching that topic?

Ebony: [02:05]: Well, the genesis of this book must have begun in my earliest childhood. I was always a lover of all things magical and all things futuristic and I gravitated towards those stories. I also enjoyed reading stories about the Black past, but it seems as if the two circles never intersected in the perfect Venn diagram. I’m sure as a child I couldn’t explain it like that, but stories that were fun, that were imaginative, and that could transport you into another world were one thing and stories that could give you a sense of the past and reality were another.

You rarely saw Black characters in speculative fiction. I wanted to find out why because when they began to appear more in the 1990s and throughout the 2000s and 2010s in the early digital age fandoms, I realized that they just were not being received very well. As a matter of fact, you see that even today with some characters of color, particularly girls and women of color.

I’ve been watching social media discourse around Iris from The Flash and Michael Burnham from Star Trek. Every year there seems to be consternation around the presence of blackness in speculative fiction. So this was my attempt to theorize and to talk through the reasons why race exists as it does in what I call the dark fantastic.

Cathy [03:52]: So many of the super popular TV shows, movies, stories, and various kinds of media come from young adult and children’s literature these days. It seems to be a consistent pattern. Why do you think that is? What is this draw for adult audiences of a variety of sorts to a genre that originally was created for younger audiences?

Ebony [04:16]: Well, I think that there are a number of different things going on.

Children’s literature as a category is relatively new in the span of human history. What we know of as literature for children, I would argue, is a post-Enlightenment phenomenon. Before the advent of children’s literature in the West, and around the rest of the world, there was not this sense that stories were just for children, although there were always didactic and teaching stories throughout human history. In all of our cultures, humans use stories to teach children things. But myths, legends, and folklore, and even our religious stories and our deeply held beliefs as humans, they were for all people. If you think about the oral tradition, stories were just for people. So people grew up hearing the same stories over and over again.

[05:36] Our ideas of childhood were first established in, I believe, modernity, although I’m sure there is a medieval studies listener or someone who’s studied the world before 1500 who would maybe disagree with me. We began to have new ideas about childhood because of the division of labor that came with modernity, colonialism, and the Industrial Revolution. Child’s work became separate from adults’ work.

As time has gone on, we have continued to categorize childhood. There’s a new category called adolescence, which is only about 100 years old. There really wasn’t adolescence, as we know it, before the early twentieth century. And of course we have young adulthood, new adulthood, the 20s are emerging as sort of this new ephemeral category.

So therefore you might see that children’s literature as we know it or as we think of it is a category with ever-shifting boundaries. Because of that, I think that for people in a very confusing, postmodern digital age where the center doesn’t seem to be holding, revisiting those stories that feel mythic, that are at the very deepest part of us, holds tremendous allure for all kinds of audiences and all kinds of readers.

Cathy [06:57]: Several of the past guests that we’ve had on the show have talked about the role of race in speculative fiction and particularly Afrofuturism. Sami Schalk was on and andré carrington came on and they’re both really interested in what the genre offers to Black imaginations of the present, of the future, and different forms of reimagining the past. So many of the examples in The Dark Fantastic also get at these kinds of questions. I’m curious, from a fan perspective are there particular stories or characters that you found either over the course of doing research for the book or just in other areas of your life that get you really excited about exploring these questions through these narratives?

Ebony [07:42]: Yes. First of all, I’d like to just give a shout out to andré and Sami who are just amazing scholars. So I appreciate andré’s theorization of speculative blackness. I draw on it in my own work. I have a recent piece out in a special issue of the Journal of Transformative Works and Cultures that he co-edited with Abigail De Kosnik. I love what he did around Star Trek and some of those foundational Black figures in one of the most popular science fiction franchises of all time. So he has chapters about [Nyota] Uhura and [Benjamin] Sisko.

Then of course Sami Schalk’s work in Bodyminds Reimagined is this incredible intersectional look at what the speculative can do for how we think about not only race and gender but also sexuality and disability. So I just really love both scholars.

[08:42] In The Dark Fantastic, what I wanted to do was add to this growing body of scholarship, to really look at what was happening with childhood and adolescence and the adults who choose to continue to play along with childhood imaginative landscapes.

So children’s and young adult literature is my chosen field. I’m an English educator by training and what I think The Dark Fantastic can add to the extent work and emerging work by new and up-and-coming scholars is I wanted to find out what was happening as people read and viewed those very first stories. So that influenced my critical race counter-storytelling approach.

I chose to narrate my way through The Dark Fantastic as an autoethnography of my own reading, viewing, and fan girling, and I’m hoping it serves as a model for other people who are younger than I, who really grew up during the digital age, to follow as they write their own stories of reading and participating in the fantastic and in fandom.

[10:03] I chose the word fantastic because I thought it was cooler than speculative fiction. I think it also captures that wonder and whimsy of a child’s imagination. And that’s what I was trying to get at.

I’m really thinking about youth and young adult reading after that first breath of childhood and encountering mirrors of yourself in the fantastic. But you know, if it’s the mainstream fantastic, it could be a twisted, fun-house mirror version of the self. I wanted to explore what that means not only for readers of color but also for all readers, for white readers, encountering those figures as perhaps the only people that they meet in the fantastic who are peoples of color, Native folk, and other people who have been traditionally marginalized and minoritized in real world settings.

Cathy [11:04]: So speaking of those first stories, those early stories, a lot of the folks on this podcast are parents themselves or parent children in some form or another and are really committed to giving their kids access to an expansive and empowering range of cultural production. And they often frame it as a crucial part of their social justice work as well as their scholarship. I know you have some really fantastic recommendations and I know that you often put these out to the public. So I’d like to get your take on this podcast: what are some of your favorite or maybe some of your recommended children’s or young adult novels, stories, or characters that you recommend to parents who are interested in this kind of social justice framework?

Ebony [11:50]: One of my favorite things to do with my graduate students is to compile and publish the Penn GSE [University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education] annual Best Books for young Readers List. Our director of communications approached me about four years ago and said, “Ebony, you’re constantly reading and receiving and talking about young adult literature, children’s books, picture books—why not put out a list of your recommendations?” So that first year, I was really unsure. I had a very limited list and it was just what I enjoyed reading. I qualified it as such. But since then, it’s really gone viral or as viral as an academic page can go.

[12:48] So my students and I keep a spreadsheet of all the books that we receive and read throughout the calendar year. Right after the National Council of Teachers of English Convention, which also includes one of the biggest young adult conventions in the country, ALAN—the Assembly on Literature for Young Adults of the NCTE—we sit down and we figure out the books that not only we most enjoyed reading, but we always have in mind the Philadelphia child and teen. So what are the kinds of books that we would recommend to our local community, which is incredibly diverse.

One of the developments in publishing that I welcomed in 2018 was the rise of Black girl magic YA [young adult] fantasy. So for the first time in recent memory, four young adult novels featuring speculative fiction—so horror, fantasy, and science fiction—were published by Black women authors and featured Black teen protagonists. Those four books are Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, which has made the New York Times bestseller list; Dread Nation by Justina Ireland; A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney; and The Belles by Dhionelle Clayton, who actually just published the sequel, which is titled The Everlasting Rose.

[14:01] So this was a wonderful development. Those books have done very well. I believe that A Blade So Black, which is a Black retelling of Alice in Wonderland, has been optioned for television. Dread Nation and Children of Blood and Bone were Hugo finalists. So they got quite a bit of attention in the science fiction and fantasy world. This is a development that I welcome. We’re really excited about those books.

We’re also seeing some development in the middle grades realm. So, Tracey Baptiste has been putting out this imaginative, dark fantastic story series called The Jumbies. She’s from Trinidad and this is absolutely influenced by Caribbean folk lore. And then finally, next year we’re going to have Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. So he’s built this middle grades fantasy/folk tale novel series based on John Henry and other African American legends. So that’s probably the book that will be out within the next 12, 18 months that I’m most excited about.

[15:04] I am really excited to see more fantastic visions for our kids and our teens that are based on African diaspora myth from all over the world. We’re seeing much more diversity in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and I do want to encourage publishers to continue that trend. We’ve seen other trends before and then when it’s no longer the hot thing to have people of color and fantasy, then we have a decade where we sort of recede and disappear from genre fiction. And I’m hoping this is lasting change.

Cathy [15:46]: Me too. So before you transitioned into higher education, you taught in K–12 education and I would be really curious to talk a little bit about how those two parts of your career intersect. Do you find that your work and in K–12 education shapes how you approach university students or maybe vice versa?

Ebony [16:10]: Oh, I think that my foundational years as a K–12 teacher shaped everything that I do. I don’t have children of my own. I’m a proud aunt of six kids—both my younger sisters have three kids apiece. And I’m also a godmother. I do a lot of other mothering. I’m definitely Black American and that’s a huge proud tradition in our community. So we all mother and the village takes care of children. But really it was my foundational years being a K–12 teacher in Detroit and Ann Arbor that really has influenced everything that came after.

I could not have written The Dark Fantastic without all of the pieces of the puzzle in place. So the child reader, the would-be creative writer, the scholar, the critic, but then also the K–12 teacher who was desperately searching for diverse speculative fiction for my fifth graders and then my high schoolers.

[17:10] I heard from plenty of my high schoolers that they hated science fiction and fantasy, they hated Harry Potter. One of my students actually wrote in an essay, “I don’t like things that aren’t real.” And so I wondered what was happening in those books to make kids feel that way.

I think in The Dark Fantastic what I’ve uncovered is that a lot of the violence against Black bodies in the real world is mirrored in the fantastic. It just is. There’s just more violence and more quotidian violence against Black characters, sometimes very young, whether it’s physical violence, social, or emotional violence. They suffer in ways that sometimes other characters do not in the same position. I really think that I proved that in the Bonnie Bennett chapter because in the book [The Vampire Diaries], she was white and she had a very different storyline. When nontraditional casting, what used to be called color-blind casting, made her Black on screen, she just could not have the same story because it would have been incomprehensible to mainstream audiences. Like, the Black girl doesn’t save the day. The Black girl certainly doesn’t get the guy. It’s just not what audiences expect.

We see lots of really harsh pushback on social media when the Black character moves out of their expected places in speculative fiction. It’s so much of a matter of course that we almost lampoon it. No, we do lampoon it as Black fans and as Black geeks. I mean it’s just what happens.

Cathy: So what projects are you working on now? Or do you need a little break before you can jump to a new one?

Ebony [19:18]: Well unfortunately enough, being an academic, we live in this publish or perish world. I was fortunate enough to make tenure at Penn last year. Thank you New York University press for publishing The Dark Fantastic.

I have two projects in the hopper right now. One of them is the sequel to The Dark Fantastic where I want to problematize and look at all this wonderful new fiction we’re getting from Black authors. There are a number of challenges even there. The challenges of diversifying fantasy don’t just go away when we are the ones writing it.

I think that so many wonderful stories have come out. I particularly like, in the adult world, everything that N.K. Jemisin has done. Her Broken Earth trilogy is one of the most incredible science fiction stories of the 2010s, perhaps that we’ve had yet this century. She’s just incredible. We have Nnedi Okorafor, who works between YA and adult. So I’d like to see more like that.

[20:17] We also have some stories out there that are not working quite as well and I think I need to tread on thin ice and talk about what some of the challenges are. When you diversify fantasy, it’s not as easy as just making all the characters Black or Latinx or Asian. Very different things happen in stories depending on the identities and social subjectivities of the characters. So I’m really excited about exploring that.

Also, I was just signed by the same literary agent that sold Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, a book that I really enjoyed. She has a new book that’s just as good, if not better. It’s called On the Come Up and it’s out this year. Her agent signed to me for my YA fantasy novel that I talk about in The Dark Fantastic, that I couldn’t publish when I was in my 20s. So 15 years later, I’m rewriting that and trying to get that out into the world.

Cathy [21:17]: Wow, that process of revisiting this manuscript that you had originally drafted so many years ago. I mean, I’m just thinking of all the changes in publishing as you’ve mentioned, and culture and politics. I mean, it’s just such a different world. So I would imagine your approach to the topics are completely different, right? What’s that process like?

Ebony [21:34]: I’m having a blast, when I get a moment of spare time to work on it, and it’s really informing my thought process as I write the sequel to The Dark Fantastic.

So I wrote The Dark Fantastic after not being able to publish my own fantasy novel in the mid-2000s, which was, as you say, a completely different cultural, publishing, and political landscape than we see today. Now, writing post-Dark Fantastic but also post-Obama, post-Trump, post-We Need Diverse Books, post- the Meyers’ father and son editorials in 2014 asking where are all the children of color and children’s books, it has been quite a different process.

[22:30] I think the number one thing that’s changed is my protagonist. So my protagonist was originally my age and definitely was written from Generation X, golden age of hip hop sensibilities. And my agent Brookes Sherman said when he read the story, “Well, he’s toxically masculine.” So a character that would have been completely fine maybe in the mid-1990s, at the height of gangster rap, I had to turn into a Generation Z, much more introspective, I have my earbuds in my ears and my phone in my hand kid. So I’ve been drawing upon the experiences of my nieces, my nephews, other kids in the family, kids in the community, and really rebuilding my characters so that they’re not like me but they’re like the kids that I teach and have taught and the kids that my students, who I send out into the world, who they teach. My students, some of them have children.

I think it’s just a completely different time to be a teenager. And I’m enjoying exploring that. At first I wasn’t sure because you know, I’m in my 40s now and not the young ingenue that I thought I would be publishing as in my 20s. But I do think that what I can bring to it is a sort of meditative thoughtfulness to the process. I’m trying not to make it so academic and boring. We’ll just see. I’m hopeful that I can do both, I can both theorize the fantastic and play a little bit in it as well.

Cathy [23:57]: You bring up this intersection between theorizing and creating cultural production. And your career is such a fantastic example of how these things come together in really exciting and creative and just really smart ways. I’d love to talk a little bit more about how these different realms come together for you—your interest in creativity or art with your interest in academic research and your commitment to social justice activism. What interests you about that intersection?

Ebony [24:28]: I think I was an accidental intersectional activist in many ways. When I first started out, I thought I would be a high school English teacher who would publish an occasional novel.

My first role model for the kind of work I wanted to do was Sharon Draper. So 20 years ago, Sharon Draper was US Teacher of the Year and she also wrote a wonderful book that I read during my first year of teaching called Teaching from the Heart. She also published amazing children’s literature. If you go back to her back list, she’s published incredibly influential stories. So I thought I wanted that kind of career.

[25:27] Then along the way, I picked up a lot of different things. I spent a lot of time in Harry Potter fandom and then subsequently in plenty of other fandoms after that time. I might have written about 2 million words of fan fiction, and that’s probably underestimating it. I’ve written in about a dozen fandoms now, mostly under pseudonyms, but my Harry Potter fan fiction was kind of notorious. I got caught up in some early scandals.

I learned a lot about writing serial fiction for an audience that rewarded certain things and you’d hear from them about others sorts of things. It made me very analytical of others’ speculative visions because when you’re writing fan fiction, it really isn’t your own fiction solely. You’re also having to deconstruct canon so that you can understand what’s going on and comment on it or provide your own take on it.

Teaching helped me think about audience and what kids and teens were hoping and dreaming about. And now I have the privilege and opportunity to train and to mentor teachers and teacher educators. So I think all of that converges into this very interesting and unique career and perspective. I could not have imagined when I first set out on this journey that I would need all of it to begin to have a bird’s eye view of what was going on with race and speculative fiction.

Cathy [26:47]: So this brings me to my absolute favorite question that I get to ask folks and that’s why I put it at the end. It’s really the reason why I started this podcast: to talk with very smart, creative, expansive folks about that vision of the world that they’re working towards when they write their books, when they step in front of a classroom, when they get on stage, when they create whatever they create in the universe. So I’ll ask you this giant question that some people think is a scary question, but I think it’s a really important question for us to ask and to answer. What kind of world do you want?

Ebony [27:22]: Wow. Yeah, that’s a beautiful question. But it’s a question that I actually think about every day.

So, two thoughts. First, in the most recent season of Star Trek—so I’ve been watching Star Trek: Discovery and gosh, it’s been one wonderful to watch a new series unfold. There’s a quote that says, “Starfleet is a promise. No one gets left behind.” And I think about something one of my beautiful colleagues, Dr. Cynthia Dillard, who does her work in both the United States and in Ghana, told me about a month ago: “In Ghana, no one gets lost.” Both of those quotes resonated with me to the point of tears because so much of modernity has been about loss and erasure and who profits and who gains.

So I’m thinking about not necessarily utopia, because I don’t believe in utopias, but thinking about the ways that stories can begin to bring us to a place of hope, where people aren’t lost, where people don’t get left behind, where we can have that decolonized imagination so that we can truly see each others’ faces. That is something that I worked toward and think about every single day

[28:40] The other thing is I want to close with a note of hope. I really think that the ways in which we are being fed information now makes us think that we have gone past the point of no return as a species. But I can’t believe that. My ideas and maybe not my genetics are going to be moving forward into the future (since I don’t have kids with my own).

I saw a rising generation of kids all over the world on Friday protest climate change, and immediately the UN Secretary General said, “Okay, we’re going to have a meeting.” I am so hopeful for the potential of our young, many of whom are still going to be living to see the twenty-second century, to bring us to where we need to go. So I am so grateful and thankful that even if something I said, even if one thing that I said, can help to spark that more hopeful future, than my life would have been worth it. I truly believe that.

Cathy: Thank you so much for being with us today, Ebony, and sharing all of the fantastic ways that you imagine otherwise.

Ebony: Thank you for having me. This has been great!

Cathy [30:07] [upbeat music in background] Thanks for listening to another episode of Imagine Otherwise. Imagine Otherwise is produced by Ideas on Fire and this episode was created by Christopher Persaud and myself, Cathy Hannabach.

You can check out the show notes for this episode on our website at ideasonfire.net where you can also read about our fabulous guest as well as find links to the people and projects we discuss on the show. [music fadeout]


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