Ebony Elizabeth Thomas Profile picture
Associate Professor & Co-Chair, @UMichEducation. Author of The Dark Fantastic. FAMU 🐍. 1913 ❤️. She/her. Next: Shifter & Dreamer (@LEEandLOW/@TuBooks, 2025).
Oct 7, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read
Coffee & proofreading! Copyedits for #TheDarkFantastic are due in 48 hours.

Press suggested "Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games" as a subtitle. Why not "from Harry Potter to Black Panther?"

Because I'm writing another book about the Black fantastic. One of the things my mentors told me is that it's one thing to write a lot of books. Quite another to write a book people wanna read.

The final version of #TheDarkFantastic was approved back in March. I'm not a supergenius like some of you -- my writing & thinking takes time.
Oct 6, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
This. (That's why I'm not holding my breath for the "blue wave," which is assuredly a myth. Around 50% won't give up their pedestal. Never have, never will.)
Here's a truth that's as American as apple pie: You're going to have a hard time convincing ~50% of WW to give up their promixity to the most powerful group in the nation.

The half that are already voting blue aren't economically or socially dependent upon conservative WM.
Oct 5, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Also, for those talking about Black mythology "beyond" or "outside of" slavery & Jim Crow -- there is no beyond, or outside of. Those experiences were the crucible. Our myths and folklore were created back then, because our ancestors were fully human, and humans create culture. Why is it so difficult for us to look at our enslaved ancestors fully in the face & see them as not only completely human, but extraordinary?

Why do we reduce their lives to mere survival? Flight? Suffering?

What about their dreams? Hopes? Stories? Imagination?
Oct 5, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
I'm not sure if Octavia Butler was Black American or if her folks were from the Caribbean, but KINDRED is sort of Shakespeare for anyone wanting to build a Black North American fantastic world. She dealt with the problem of slavery way back in the 70s. Plenty of challenges for building a North American Black fantastic:
1) Slavery, of course. How can you build SFF while incorporating that?
2) Also, it's not North America after all. This place is Turtle Island & belongs to 100s of Native nations -- have to take that into account.
Oct 3, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
This was a follow-worthy Tweet. (Lots of thoughts about this.) Honestly, this is why I spent time in #TheDarkFantastic examining the construction of race in the Western speculative imagination, and left Afrofuturism -- which I do value as a Black American, and a Diasporan -- alone.
Sep 29, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
Thread. (Those of us who came of age in the 1990s had better language & definitions, but the culture was the same as described in the 1980s. Assault was viewed as your own fault. The Internet -- and especially the social Web -- changed everything.) (Trigger and content warnings, pls mute) The vast majority of women who came of age before 1990 did not have adequate terminology or definitions for sexual violence. *My cohort was the first to have them, but there were violent sanctions & even social death for women who dared.*
Aug 22, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read
There were layers to what happened last week, though. I've supported the person who sparked it, bought her book, and just skimmed her response post over lunch. And... when I went to her talk, she definitely emphasized her home & community culture as a factor in her success. Beyond a particular digital celebrity's ego, I think that these conversations deserves more nuance. Goes deeper than folk "wanting it both ways" -- they are both in a sense. Folks are from one culture; they're steeped in another. That's hard.
Aug 11, 2018 20 tweets 5 min read
Watched the diaspora wars Grapevine ep last night (still no TV at Mom's lake house, lol); looked for a Tweet that captured my thoughts.

This is it -- & it earned a follow.
There's nothing I've heard Black folks from outside the USA say about BAs in 45 min away from 41 years that would ever make me throw them under the bus.

Given the horrors that continental & diasporic Africans have endured this half millennium? We get along just fine. 🤷🏿‍♀️
Jul 30, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read
In the United States, you must tip your servers at restaurants, bars & other establishments.

It's also customary to tip others who provide goods & services, but servers here are paid below the minimum wage. The majority of their income comes from tips. Expected tip is 18-20%. 20% is easier math. My grandmother's generation, as well as my birth dad (1920s & 1930s born) tipped 10-15%. It's no longer 1975. Tip 20%.

Some people make an exception for happy hour & tip server $1 per drink/appetizer. I give 20%.
Jul 30, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
As long as we allow a small group of humanity to dictate 100% of the rules & terms of engagement for The Rest of Us, we'll never win. (Actually, we'll prob go extinct.) Frederick Douglass never laid eyes on the 20th century, let alone the 21st. And he been done told y'all.
Jul 28, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
I'm just marveling at the beauty of this Tweet right here. *marvels*
Repeating that LRT for posterity:
"They force people of color to drink from the firehose of their feelings about it."
(Wow. That's excellent. Once again, I have writer's envy.)
Jul 27, 2018 17 tweets 4 min read
Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.
*tries to imagine a world where I get to burn up energy because I was called "Black* *fails* vox.com/policy-and-pol… That's weird -- you're White but no one can say the word?
(Is Whiteness like saying Voldemort?)
(Will we melt if we say it?)
(Will we disappear?)
(Why is calling White people White suddenly seen as violent?)
(Why is this country so endlessly weird? And not in good ways?)
Jul 25, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read
A thought: One thing that makes me uncomfortable with "WM with the right policy positions should be favored over BIPOC & LGBTQ we can paint as centrist" is this.

White men have controlled this country since its Founding. What's stopping righteous WM from enacting this stuff? That logic reminds me of the parable where the rich man asks Jesus what he had to do to enter the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus is like, go and sell everything you have, give it all to the poor, and then come follow Me.

And the rich man goes away sorrowful bc he just can't do it.
Jul 25, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read
Loved this! Some of my details differed (no physical abuse), but I feel alienated from my UMC Black friends & colleagues *to this day.* Class matters. And it's especially irritating when they're extra woke. Yelling at me about capitalist exploitation one day, and then, off for vacations, massages & facials the next. If you point this out? More yelling.
Jul 18, 2018 7 tweets 1 min read
LRTs: While I don't ID as disabled, as someone with a few chronic health issues (including asthma & several severe allergies), I definitely know how ableist folks can be. (My God, the ableism.) I'm not shocked by how crap our fellow humans are being about straws. How many "friends" and "colleagues I value" have laughed themselves silly over hearing about one of my allergies?

(I mean, unless I'm joking specifically about it... asphyxiation isn't fun?)
Jul 5, 2018 17 tweets 3 min read
Generations in my family are like fire and water. Grandma & her sibs were fiery; Mom & hers were calm, peaceful & unassuming.

When I called my mother last night, I was like, "Why are your daughters like this?"

Her response: "You're your grandmother's granddaughters." 🤣😂 One anecdote among many: once, back in the 1950s, Grandma was a domestic for a employer who routinely refused to pay her, offering her clothing like an ugly used dress instead of her wages.

I won't elaborate. This is Twitter. But Elizabeth Brown got every damn cent she was owed.
Jul 4, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Well, I still love Kirk as a character. And I'm glad I got to see Shatner speak before now. I know who he is, and that doesn't ruin TOS for me. It can't.

I got to meet the actress who played my fave from that crew at SDCC 2 years ago. So I am *good.* Black Americans are some of the best in the world at separating a flawed person from a message, an acting role, etc. A degree of magnanimity has always been required of us ("When they go low, we go high").

We let many things go. If we didn't, we'd get nothing done.
Jul 4, 2018 17 tweets 3 min read
This crowd overlaps with the “fans” that want to sink Discovery. And many of us learned long ago that Kirk is a fictional character. And it’s especially egregious when you come after vulnerable untenured Black women faculty. It’s bullying, plain & simple, and as @stichomancery & others have documented, some have honed their bullying skills in fandom.
Jul 4, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read
I'll send my Tweets to @Penn myself, @WilliamShatner. They tenured me for this work.

This is my lane -- I have a book coming out in the spring on this very topic.

Go ahead & block me like everyone else you disagree with. I'll still be a #StarTrek fan. We are professors of children's literature. It is a real shame when a icon of science fiction like William Shatner characterizes Black women professors as trolls, simply because we have informed opinions that he disagrees with.

I'm neither hurt nor surprised, just disappointed.
Jul 4, 2018 16 tweets 5 min read
1. The tea is that Star Trek TOS was groundbreaking for its time, but is problematic from a 2010s POV, especially on gender.

2. Bill seriously needs to stay in his lane.

3. There are many racist Trek fans (& SF fans), hence the # of RTs. They want progress only on their terms. Most of these people talking about Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and an award they didn't know existed until it was picked up by the media haven't read the books in many years.

Some never read them at all, and are only familiar with the TV series.
Jun 29, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
Thanks for the tag, @sojustbooks!

Interesting that the Bannerman reprint (which I have in my classroom library) is covering up books I'd rec, like ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER. Why display that one in particular?

(They'll tell you, "We arranged it by size.")
The Story of Little Black Sambo was originally published in 1899. It will be 120 years old next year.

It's not that classic children's books should be censored. It's that classic children's books are unexamined sites of social & cultural reproduction.