Jun 10, 2015

Tor Books, Inclusiveness Does Not Mean Permitting Prejudice

Yesterday Chuck Wendig blogged about Tor Books' recent apology for the words of their creative director, Irene Gallow.

Have a read through, and especially read the comments. It's a pretty hot mess, but as Chuck says, it comes across that Tor decided their creative director deserved to be publicly shamed for words posted on her private Facebook account.

Words, mind you, that amounted to nothing so much as a criticism of the motives behind the two groups responsible for the slate nominations of this year's Hugo Awards, the Sad Puppies and the Rapid Puppies. These groups believe that science fiction and fantasy have become too political, too caught up in social justice, that the desire to see diverse characters and authors has robbed the genres of simple stories of adventure.

For the purposes of this post, we'll ignore the fact that this assertion is just so much bullcrap. SFF has always pushed social issues to the fore and been a way to challenge prejudice and ignorance. Science fiction itself asserts that by broadening our minds and embracing all people as equals, humanity can evolve to higher, peaceful states of being. But I digress...

There is an erroneous thought drifting in the wind. This thought tells us that, in order to be truly inclusive, we must not only accept that there are people whose opinions are abhorrent to us, not only allow them to have such thoughts, but also grant them a stage for their thoughts, even if we're the ones who own the stage. More so, we're told that it's our responsibility, as fair, inclusive people, to even sit and listen while these attitudes are shoved in our faces. We're told me must defend these people from any critic. Not from people trying to stop them, mind, but from people disagreeing with them.

When you champion those who would close doors and hoard their power, you are not being inclusive. When you defend those who rail and abuse minorities from having their opinions challenged, on the grounds of "free speech", you are not being inclusive. When you shame a woman before the entire world, using your position as a bastion of your industry to reach your audience, just because she had the courage to come out and hold prejudice up for what it is, you are not being inclusive.

Shame on Tom Doherty. He has shown his company as promoting an environment where those who speak up against that which is wrong will be punished.

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