Thoughts of a Black Steampunk; or, Why Am I Awake?

Madam0wl shared this link with me

The Intersection of Race and Steampunk: Colonialism’s After-Effects & Other Stories, from a Steampunk of Colour’s Perspective [Essay]

and of course I snapped it up like an antique pocketwatch...race? plus steampunk? i'm there all day.

I wanted to share the comment I left on this article, since it was so long and articulate it'd be a shame to let it linger at the bottom of someone else's blog...

"I am a woman of color and I consider myself part of the steampunk movement, though my interest in it lies more in its broader possibilities for social change than its visual aesthetic (though I like aspects of that as well). The idea of taking influence from the past, gleaning the best practices and incorporating them into the present is highly relevant today. We know our current culture (Western capitalist culture) is unsustainable, and we need to come up with sound alternatives rather urgently. The steady growth in popularity of steampunk, in my view, signals a broad shift in focus from a myopic view of history to a much wider one, taking influence from varying cultures and points of history. This is what we need to be doing, frankly. We need to evolve, and steampunk offers a prospective avenue for doing so. Plenty of people are doing this in their own way; that’s the punk aspect of it.

Maybe the Victorian era is so compelling as a source of inspiration because it was the beginning of the way of life we know today: an almost worshipful adoration of the latest technology, a sense of unlimited expansion and growth, increasing globalization, raging capitalism, and so forth. It makes sense now to look back at this era and at this culture in particular because it was the epicenter of late 19th and early 20th century modernity. The sun never set on Victoria’s empire, right?

Today we have the luxuries of even better technology, better communication, better living standards, and much more. But we’ve also largely traded away the values of artisanship, sense of decorum and emphasis on natural beauty so associated with that time. Capturing those things via steampunk is not so much about nostalgia, but about taking best cultural values and practices and leaving the rest in the past.

I’m involved in steampunk because I wish to shape it. I want it to be inclusive so I’m including myself, and anyone else who wants in. I want to be part of the process of creating something new out of something old and forgotten, which in my view is what steampunk is about, at its core.

As you see I can go on and on about this all night but I wanted to share some of my thoughts about this topic, since it’s rather close to me."