SFWA

Return of the SFWA Bulletin

The SFWA Bulletin is back after a roughly ten-month hiatus. I’m not interested in reruns of arguments from a year ago, but I wanted to take a look at what SFWA has put together for the relaunch of their professional magazine. (And of course, Jason Sanford beat me to the punch pretty much as soon as I started writing this blog post.)

One of the biggest changes is that the Bulletin will now be available in both print and electronic format. Members can log into the Forums and download the magazine here in .epub, .mobi, or .pdf format. I’m told the electronic edition will also be made available for sale to non-members, though I don’t believe that’s happened yet.

Given the events of last year, I suspect most everyone’s going to immediately check out the cover. The artwork is by Galen Dara. I like it a lot as an image. Dara does nice, evocative work. I’m not entirely sold on it as a cover for the Bulletin, though. The text layout doesn’t really pull together for me, and the overall cover … it just doesn’t scream “professional journal” to me.

That said, this is an interim issue. Moving forward, John Klima is taking over as editor of the Bulletin, and I suspect there will be more changes to come. As a transition/relaunch, I think the cover works well enough, and definitely sends the message that the organization is working to avoid the mistakes of the past.

The contents have a distinctly different feel, with an emphasis on what SFWA is and what the organization does. The very first piece is Susan Forest’s, “SFWA at its Core,” which talks about SFWA’s five core goals (inform, support, promote, defend, advocate), and the different ways it works to achieve those goals.

There are articles about the website, the SFWA Forum, the Ombudsman’s role, the SFWA Reception and other events, the online discussion boards, the YA/MG group, and more. If you wanted to put together an introductory packet for new and prospective members, you could pick up this issue and be halfway there.

And there are HONEY BADGERS! Comic relief honey badgers from Ursula Vernon and MCA Hogarth. I don’t know what Klima is planning for future issues, but please consider this a plea for more honey badger comics!

This is a good relaunch, and worth reading for anyone who wants to know why they should bother joining SFWA, or what the organization really does. Thank you Tansy Rayner Roberts, Jaym Gates, Neil Clarke, Steven Gould, and everyone else who worked to make this issue happen. I’m looking forward to seeing where the new editor takes it from here.

Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Sexism Mess

Jim has a comprehensive roundup of links relating to the SFWA thing/Jim is only linking to people who agree with him.

I never claimed to be doing a comprehensive list of links. As I stated up front, I was responding to the claim that protests and complaints were being done anonymously. There are posts I agree with that I didn’t link to, and posts I’m less comfortable with that I did include.

I have no objection to people linking to that post, but please don’t describe it as a full or comprehensive list of responses to this mess.

Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg are good people who have helped a tremendous number of people.

I don’t think I’ve seen anyone claim that Resnick and Malzberg are evil, or that they’ve never done anything positive. Nobody’s one-dimensional. So yes, I’m sure they’ve both done many good things in their lives. But I also think they messed up this time.

I believe I’ve done good things in my life, but I don’t expect people to give me a pass when I screw up. (And believe me, I still screw up a lot.)

Scalzi’s apology was weak!

I’ve seen a range of opinions on John Scalzi’s statement. Personally, I thought it was pretty good. Sure it wasn’t perfect, and there are certainly valid criticisms to be made.

That said, based on the statement as well as 1) knowing John personally and 2) his history of working against sexism and discrimination, I’m taking it at face value as a genuine apology and promise to do better. And maybe that’s where the history of positive work comes into play. Not that I think we should ignore it when Scalzi messes up. But when he offers an apology and says he’s going to work to try to fix this, I’m inclined to believe him.

All this attention is just making SFWA look bad.

You’re right. In the short term, SFWA has definitely taken a black eye. In the long term, I’m hopeful that the result will be a better organization. And I have trouble buying the idea that the real problem isn’t the sexism, but people pointing out and criticizing the sexism.

What about all of the good work SFWA does?

As Mary Robinette Kowal said:

“I still feel like some asshole spilled something on my prom dress. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a little spot, that’s all anyone will see. It doesn’t matter how great the dress is, the stain still ruins it.”

I was at BEA last week, where Jaym Gates and Laura Anne Gilman worked incredibly hard to set up and the SFWA booth where I and other members were able to sign and meet folks. It was awesome, and it’s one of a thousand things SFWA does that I’m grateful for.

I don’t think those things should be used to derail the current conversation. I do think they’re part of a conversation that should happen, and as a member of SFWA, I’m making a note to try to have that conversation in the future, to post more about why I stay with and believe in the work the organization does.

All those age-related insults flying around? Not cool, man!

I agree. While I think some of the “dinosaur” comments are meant to refer to old/outdated attitudes, there have also been some direct shots at old people. There are plenty of older people speaking out quite strongly against sexism, just as there are young folks being sexist asshats.

It’s a witch hunt! It’s a liberal-fascist crusade! It’s a lynch mob!

It’s over-the-top hyperbole!

One of the people you linked to used the phrase “right-thinking.” Doesn’t that prove it’s not hyperbole, and liberals really are the thought police?

One of the people — out of sixty-plus that I’ve linked to so far — used that phrase.  And you know what? I’m not comfortable with that word choice either. I do agree with a lot of the other things said in that post.

I also find it interesting when people latch on to one phrase in one post, generalize it to an entire group, and then use that as an excuse to dismiss or stop listening to that group as a whole. That’s some weak and lazy-ass thinking, regardless of which “side” you believe you’re on.

Shouldn’t you be writing instead of wasting your energy on this?

I’ve been doing both. 17K words on Unbound so far. Poor Isaac is having a rough time of it. And you know what? Since it’s my energy, I figure I can spend it on things I believe are important.

Why is everyone making such a big deal out of a silly cover or a bad Barbie analogy or a couple of writers describing women as attractive? Aren’t there real problems to worry about?

Interesting how often I see men trying to proclaim what is and isn’t a real problem when it comes to sexism…

Anyway, I can’t speak for everyone. For myself, I see these incidents as things that could perhaps be brushed off if they happened in isolation. But as many of the responses have pointed out, they aren’t isolated incidents. They’re part of a larger pattern of sexist behavior, and that pattern needs to stop.

It’s the death of a thousand paper cuts.

Have you gotten any hate mail about this?

I know some women have received truly nasty hate mail for expressing their comments and opinions, but the worst I’ve experienced so far is someone blocking me on Facebook. Weird. I wonder what the difference could be…

Don’t you get tired of this?

Yes.

Roundup of Some “Anonymous Protesters” (#SFWA Bulletin Links)

“Our Warrior Woman protesters and enemies of the adjective (who unlike Ms. Dworkin will not identify themselves) fall into the category of what Right Wing radio talkers call “liberal fascists,” and I cannot disagree…” -Barry Malzberg

The latest issue of the SFWA Bulletin went out last week while I was at BEA, including both my article about cover art and treating women as people, and the Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues, arguing against censorship and suppression. I’m not going to rehash the points I made in my own piece, but one of the many fascinating things I found in the Dialogues was the idea that the people complaining were somehow anonymous cowards sniping from the shadows.

“Anonymous.” You keep using that word…

I’ve rounded up some of the people talking about the problematic aspects of the last few issues of the Bulletin. I won’t talk about the pages and pages of discussion from the SFWA Discussion Forums, but there have been a significant number of complaints there–all of which have people’s names attached. And then you have posts and commentary like these:

Added 6/3/2013:

  • Mary Robinette Kowal: My Very Complicated Reaction to Issue 202 of the Bulletin. “I’m furious, because they can undo all of the good that SFWA does. And like it or not, people are right to be angry. The column is deeply offensive.”
  • Kate Milford: Kerfluffle Watch, SFWA Edition: Call Your Detractors Liberal Fascists, Lose the Argument. “…I had learned this much: the authors consider that either those who objected to the cover and dialogue in Issue 200 are at best stupid and at worst censorious.”
  • Alma Alexander: The Issue 202 Controversy. “This might involve biting the bullet, calling one tradition’s tenure in the Bulletin a day, and dropping the Malzberg/Resnick conversations … It might even be time to start letting the WOMEN have a turn at having a Conversation.”
  • Lilith Saintcrow: I Hope Gandhi is Right. “…this sort of shit makes me so. damn. tired.”
  • Tracy Cembor: Genre Drama. “Writers should be respected as partners in the process, and writers should treat one another as professionals and equals.”
  • Ferrett Steinmetz: Achievement Unlocked: Women’s Rights Advocate. “You’ve got more work to do.   You’ve got to see that calling them ‘lady editors’ is actually diminishing them, that women in chainmail bikinis may be a long tradition but so are grinning Negro lawn jockeys…”
  • Steven Saus: What to Do About Sexism In Our Official Publications. “This is a matter of being professional and treating all sf/f authors professionally.”
  • Benjamin Rosenbaum: Dear Barry & Mike. “Please cut it out. You’re better than that. Act like the men you want to be.”
  • Kelly McCullough: “For the record, the sexist dippery in the recent SFWA bulletin makes this male author & SFWA member very unhappy. Not OK Resnick & Malzberg.
  • K. Tempest Bradford: Demanding the Best. “What needs to happen is that the all of people who belong to and run SFWA need to demand the best of their community. Demand that sexism no longer be treated lightly, that it be called out and put down and not tolerated.”
  • Shiloh Walker: I’m no Barbie. “Being a woman very often means you’re going to be insulted, ignored, condescended, treated as insignificant, devalued, viewed as an object, and the list goes on and on and on…we get so blind to the shit that comes our way at times.  Maybe the problem is that we carried on with quiet dignity for too long.”
  • Harry Connolly: SFWA Bulletin and Sexism in the Genre. “Speech has consequences. Speech sways the opinion of others, and maybe–just maybe–that might have an effect on your life. Resnick has that power; he’s going to have to get used to the idea that others have it, too.”
  • Juliette Wade: This Feminist’s Thoughts on SFWA and Cultural Change. “…they were performing a culture that is sorely out of date, and I’m sure they realize that because they are defending their right to do so. Fine (though the context was inappropriate, and I’ll address that below), but they deserve the heat they are getting in response to those ideas.”
  • Stina Leicht: Feminist Monday. “This whole thing has been building up for three issues which is why there’s so much noise being made over it … And sadly, this controversy is just the tip of the misogyny iceberg.”
  • Amy McLane. Attack of the Liberal Fascists. “It is bad enough to read old men rating the hotness levels of various writers and editors and then getting indignant about being called out on it. It is gross, but you can almost sort of see how those two have gotten to the point of thinking that they’ve earned the right to be gross…”
  • Andrea Phillips: Barbie’s Quiet Dignity and Progress. “And that’s just one more drop in what seems like a never-ending stream of sexism.”
  • Selma Wolfe: Choose to be Better. “The men that endlessly defend their own sexism could choose not to defend it. They could choose to focus on women’s opinions, rather than their appearances.”
  • T. M. Thomas. SFWA in the News. “And it’s why I think, perhaps deluded and defensive and not malicious at first, why the dinosaurs of the SFWA need to offer immediate apologies and stop trying to make themselves the victims of the piece.”
  • Lindsey Bieda. “‘Hey, this thing you are doing is shitty’ is not censorship and free speech does not mean freedom from consequences or criticism.
  • Jeaniene Frost: SFWA – Not Today. “I’m glad Scalzi agrees these are legitimate concerns that affect all SFWA members/associates and isn’t falling for the ‘but it’s just whining from a few liberal fascists!’ defense, but I also heave a weary sigh of agreement with author Jenny Truman’s Tweet: ‘Why, @sfwa, do you need a task force to determine if your own members should be given professional respect within your own publication?'”
  • Matt Yaeger: Space Sexism. “If you can’t defend yourself without wrapping it up in an irrelevant conclusion that people who disagree with you must be censorship Nazis (hows that for loaded terms?) then you’ve already lost your position.”
  • Karina Cooper: Damned If You Do(n’t). “We live in a world where men are judged by the quality and quantity of their bodies of work, and women are judged by their bodies; where men are called writers, authors, artists and creatives, and women are called lady writers and authoresses and ‘beauty pageant beautiful’.”

Added 6/4/2013:

Added 6/5/2013:

  • Liz Argall: Thank you for Your Disappointment. “It’s like other sexist fiascoes that have happened elsewhere. Even if you believe men will always pinch bottoms in elevators, it’s still more useful to be appalled and talk about it.”
  • Terra LeMay: “I’m not sure I’ll have time to write a longer post about SFWA, but count me among those members disappointed by the recent Bulletin issues.
  • Cora Buhlert: Revenge of the Girl Cooties. “Sorry, but people saying ‘This is kind of sexist’ is not censorship, sorry.”
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts: Why It’s Important. “…this is why it matters that a professional industry journal should not publish a piece, even a deliberately backwards-looking opinion piece, which belittles and patronises women.”
  • Eric Zawadski: That SFWA Thing. “There is a commonly-held Internet fallacy that any negative response to your opinions is a form of censorship, and this article is thick with it.”
  • Catherine Shaffer: Just Because You’re Not Offended Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Offensive. “Other people being offended by things I am not actually generates useful conversations and improves the world for us all.”
  • Kat Goodwin: You Be Ladies Now, Ya Hear! “And voices like Resnick, Malzberg and Henderson are not ignored, nor evil, nor do they have nothing to contribute as members and authors to the field. But because their viewpoints on women are so exclusionary, they can’t be the main voices speaking for the Bulletin or SFWA…”
  • Stephanie Leary: The SFWA Bulletin. “…the very fact that Ad Week picked up on the story illustrates why SFWA’s teacup tempest is a big deal: the Bulletin is one of the primary ways the organization presents itself to the public.”
  • Larry Kollar: Writing Wibbles. “I find this head-desking incredible. I’m a middle-aged whitebread dude, and I have my issues, but I fracking try to do better.”

Added 6/6/2013:

One final related link, from Laura Resnick. Thoughts from a Different Resnick.

This is just a sampling, and includes SFWA members, past SFWA officers, at least one three Hugo award winners, editors, aspiring writers, experienced writers, bestselling writers, and more. There’s a lot more out there.

Voting Time!

SFWA Election ballots have gone out, and need to be completed and received by April 26. My thoughts on the presidential candidates are here. I’ll note that since writing that post, I’ve seen a bit more of both candidates’ approach on the SFWA discussion forums, and I’ve come to appreciate Steven Gould’s level-headed and down-to-earth style.

My only other comment on the elections is to note that my own candidacy for South Central Regional Director appears to have annoyed the folks at The Write Agenda, judging by their post and a few delightfully clueless trolls who popped up in the comments. I was amused to see how much virtual ink they’ve spent on me. If you’re not familiar with TWA, I refer you to my blog post about them from 2011. Beyond that, I’ll just point out that they’re supporting Theodore Beale for president…

Hugo Nominations are due March 10. Nominations can be submitted online by anyone with a supporting or attending membership at Chicon 7, LoneStarCon 3, and Loncon 3.

  • Best Fan Writer: I talked about possible nominees for this category here and here.
  • Best Novel: So, any of you eligible voters need a last-minute copy of Libriomancer? 😉
  • Best Fan Artist: I became aware that folks were wanting to nominate me for this one based on my cover pose work. I explained why this made me uncomfortable, and said I’d decline the nomination. Farah Mendlesohn disagreed with that choice, and made some convincing arguments as to why. I’m still conflicted here, but she’s right. The Hugos aren’t just about the winners; they’re also about the people who vote. So I won’t tell you who to nominate, and if by chance I end up on the ballot, I’ll reconsider things. The one thing I would ask is that if you do this, please list both Jim and Amy Hines. Amy was my photographer for every one of the cover poses from 2012, and they wouldn’t have been half as good without her help and patience.
  • Best Editor, Long Form: Last year, Betsy Wollheim won this category, the first such win for DAW. Sheila Gilbert is my editor at DAW, and has more than forty years of editorial experience. Not only did she help with Libriomancer, but she’s supported me as an author for seven years now, helping me to build a career and grow as an author. Just as she’s done for countless others.
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Seanan McGuire makes the case for Phineas and Ferb season three, episode 18, “Excaliferb.” I second her opinion on this one for so many ways, from the in-jokes to the soundtrack.
  • Best Related Work: A friend brought “I Have an Idea for a Book…”: The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg to my attention earlier this week. I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, but it includes essays and as complete and thorough a list as possible of the thousands of books Greenberg helped bring about.
  • The Hugo Recommendation LJ Community has other suggestions if you’re not sure what else to nominate.

Please feel free to share your own thoughts on either the election or the Hugo noms!

Running for SFWA Office (but NOT President)

After a great deal of thought, discussion with my family, and a good, hard look at my schedule and priorities, I just posted the following in the discussion forums of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America.

One way or another, I hope members will vote in the upcoming election. Because if there are no votes, I think the bylaws state that Lee and I have to fight some sort of a duel. Something about rubber chickens and key lime pie…

Jim C. Hines
Platform Statement for South/Central Regional Director

I joined SFWA as an associate member in 2001, and upgraded to active as soon as I made that third short fiction sale. SFWA wasn’t only a goal and a source of validation, but also a valuable resource. Even before that first qualifying sale, I followed Writer Beware religiously. I have no doubt that SFWA saved me from a number of mistakes in those early years. Later, I learned about the Emergency Medical Fund, got first-hand experience with the Grievance Committee, and watched SFWA promote an industry-wide change in “professional” short fiction rates.

I’ve served on SFWA’s exploratory copyright committee, assisted with the drafting of a potential harassment policy, and volunteered at the SFWA table at Worldcon, but after twelve years, I’d like to give more back to the organization by serving as South/Central Regional Director.

First and foremost, I believe a Regional Director must listen to and represent the membership. I’ve been very active with the SF/F community, particularly working writers, both those who are members of SFWA and those who qualify but, for a variety of reasons, have chosen not to join the organization. I believe my online platform will make me accessible to our members, and give me a platform to hear and respond to their concerns.

I would like to see SFWA continue to move forward. To me, the biggest priority is to complete the reincorporation process. I would also like to see SFWA reach out to those eligible writers who have turned away, believing—rightfully or wrongfully—that we have nothing to offer, or that we’re too narrow in the writers we welcome and celebrate in our ranks.

As an author, I’ve published more than 40 short stories, and my ninth novel from DAW will be out later this year. I was honored with a Hugo award last year for my online writing about the SF/F community. (And yes, I’m the guy who did those half-naked cover poses to try to promote discussions of sexism in the genre.)

In my day job as a manager working for the State of Michigan, I’ve received a crash course in managing priorities, responding to multiple demands on my time, and reviewing input from a variety of often contradictory sources. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned how to keep good ideas from stagnating, and to do the work to push those good ideas forward.

I have nothing but respect and gratitude for Lee Martindale and the work she’s done for SFWA. But I also think the membership is better served when there are multiple candidates, and I believe I have a lot to offer the organization.

I would appreciate your vote for South/Central Regional Director. But more importantly, I hope you’ll vote, period.

SFWA Presidential Election Thoughts

Warning: SFWA business and potential drama ahead!

SFWA elections are coming up again soon, and after three terms, President John Scalzi has announced that he’s done trying to herd this particular clowder of cats. Knowing how difficult writers can be, I can’t imagine how he’s done it for this long, but he has my thanks for his work and service, and for helping to push through some important changes.

The first person to announce his candidacy for SFWA president was Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day. Steven Gould has also tossed his hat into the ring. I knew Gould as the author of Jumper, among other things, and we’re on at least one mailing list together. Beale’s name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t remember where I had heard it. So I went looking…

What I found raised some concerns. Beale is a prolific blogger, and has written such pieces as Women Ruin Everything, in which he he starts out talking about Title IX and moves onto politics. He writes, apparently in all seriousness:

Orwell put it beautifully.  All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.  And the Sports Guy put it even better: women ruin everything.

Do you really think it was an accident that women were never permitted any voice in the governance of the Roman Republic or the great historical democracies such as Athens, Thebes, Imperial Britain, and Revolutionary America?  Do you really believe it to be a mere coincidence that many modern democracies, including Germany, Italy, and the member states of the European Union, were not able to survive even 100 years of female suffrage?

He also writes columns for WND, such as this one titled Why women’s rights are wrong:

I very much like women and wish them well, which is precisely why I consider women’s rights to be a disease that should be eradicated.

Or this one, wherein he describes the real threat to science:

But this is not to say there is not a genuine threat to all three aspects of science today. Unsurprisingly, it comes from the same force that is the primary threat to the survival of Western civilization: female equalitarianism.

Beale also has a history of referring to current SFWA president John Scalzi as “McRapey.” In case that was too subtle, he also titled his first such post John Scalzi is a Rapist. (Beale also talks about how rapists are more likely to vote Democratic, because one third of all forcible rapists are black.)

I wonder if the SFWA will be concerned that their current president is an admitted rapist or if they’ll take the approach towards him that NOW and the other feminist groups did towards Bill Clinton.  Of course, unlike Scalzi, Clinton never admitted to being a rapist … Wait, he claims his confession is satire?  Well, that might fool anyone unfamiliar with the concept of blown cover as cover.

He was recently asked about the value of SFWA on his blog

VD, any value with the SFWA?

Considerable entertainment value, but other than that, not so much.

Which does tend to reinforce my gut feeling that he’s running for president for the laughs. He’s been toying with the idea of running for SFWA president for several years now. Back in 2010, after quoting a hateful rant about Wiscon, he joked (at least, I assume this is supposed to be a joke):

I feel inspired to run against John Scalzi for SFWA President next year. My platform is going to involve disenfranchising all of the female members and endorsing a Federal law banning women from writing any science fiction or fantasy that does not contain vampires or wereseals and comes with a warning label: WARNING: this is Vampire/Wereseal fiction, not actual science fiction or fantasy.

Now, Beale has argued that just because people think he’s an asshole and disagree with his personal beliefs doesn’t mean he’d be a bad leader. There’s some truth to this. But in this case, I believe his personal beliefs and proclamations would seriously interfere with his ability to lead the organization. The president of SFWA has to be able to work with others on the board and within the organization. I’ve seen nothing to suggest his ability to do this, particularly when others disagree with him. Nor do I trust him to treat members with respect, particularly if those members happen to have the “wrong” chromosomal pair.

As president, Beale would be the public face of the organization. He would have to work with a board made of up people who might not be white or male or straight, and who might not always agree with him. And my sense is that this is a disaster waiting to happen.

The first five points of his platform for SFWA presidency are here.

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Steven Gould has posted his platform and qualifications as a SF/F author here. I don’t actually have that much to say about his candidacy, save that he seems to have a realistic sense of the internal and external challenges facing the organization, has shared and supported ideas for moving SFWA forward, and certainly has a strong SF/F background.

For me though, one of Gould’s strongest qualifications is that he’s not Theodore Beale.

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For those of you who are members of SFWA, please take some time to read through the discussion forums, review the Q&A with the candidates as well as their platforms, and vote.

Note: There’s a good chance this post will attract trolls. I don’t plan on moderating the comments here, and I suggest not engaging with any trolls who do show up. I’m hopeful things will stay civilized, but if not, well, they say you can judge a man by the company he keeps…

Six SFWA Candidates and One Facepalm

My ballot for the 2012 SFWA Officer Election showed up this week. Some of the decisions are pretty straightforward. John Scalzi is running unopposed for President, and overall I’m fairly happy with the work he’s done for the organization. Bud Sparhawk is also running unopposed for Treasurer. He’s got experience and a reasonable platform I can support.

There are two candidates for Secretary: Michael Burstein and Ann Leckie. I haven’t yet made up my mind here.

And then there are the Vice-President candidates, Rachel Swirsky and Lou Antonelli.

The platforms of the various candidates are posted in the SFWA Forums (you have to be a member to log in and read them). Let me say up front that I appreciate anyone’s willingness to step up and volunteer for a tremendous amount of work, work that can be difficult, time-consuming, and often thankless.

With that said, I’d like to publicly support Rachel Swirsky for VP.

Both Swirsky and Antonelli bring impressive resumes. While I was leaning toward voting for Swirsky already, what solidified my decision tonight was an exchange in Antonelli’s blog where he had posted his platform. Author Nisi Shawl expressed being offended by his use of the phrase “Canine-Americans” to describe his dogs. Antonelli responded by calling her concerns esoteric, politically correct bullshit, and saying she takes herself way too seriously.

I’m not posting this with the intention of dropping the internet on Antonelli’s blog. But … well, I guess I take stuff way too seriously too.

To start with, I get really sick of white folks lecturing people of color on what they should and shouldn’t take offense to when it comes to issues of race and ethnicity. If you don’t get it, that’s one thing. I don’t believe there’s any shame in saying “I don’t understand.”

But this is a condescending, insulting, and flat-out shitty way to respond when someone calls you on something.

I get that it’s hard. I’ve been called out on stuff before too. Sometimes I’ve agreed, sometimes I haven’t understood, and sometimes I’ve thought about it and decided I didn’t agree. None of those responses require you to disrespect or insult the other person.

More to the point, whether you agree with someone or not, this is an utterly unacceptable way for a potential officer in an organization to respond to the concerns of a member.

ETA: a link to Shawl accepting Antonelli’s apology.

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Follow-up: I’m angry right now, which is a dangerous time to blog. I’ve tried to lay out my concerns clearly, without getting into personal attacks or name-calling. If I’ve screwed that up, I reserve the right to come back and tack on an addendum, though I’ll leave the original post as is.

Jim C. Hines