I don’t write very much about the goings on in the Science Fiction and Fantasy publishing community. Partly because I’ve spent more time in the Young Adult publishing community, and partly because I see the SFF community as being a hot mess. While the YA community has actually taken steps to improve its representation of marginalized voices (or at least have said they would), there are people who are working very hard to ensure things stay the same in the SFF community, and that a large swath of humanity continues to be excluded.
One of the most notable is Vox Day whose real name is Theodore Beale. I’m not going get into a rehashing of Beale’s history. That’s what Google is for. Cliff’s Notes version: he is a Dumpster fire of a human being. So you would think when he says something, such as that he is deeply offended because someone called out his racist and misogynistic agenda, everyone would just ignore him.
The problem with entertaining anything Beale says, ANYTHING, is that you give merit to his arguments that a good portion of the population doesn’t deserve a voice. This isn’t a discussion about whether burgers or burritos are more delicious (the answer is burritos). This is a person who considers black people to be animals and has stated that women need men to tell them how to exist. There is no dialogue to be had when one side is advocating oppression or states that black people are savages. And the moment you entertain what that person is saying, even out of politeness, what you are saying is that you think, maybe, just maybe, that person may have a valid point.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
The longer people entertain/debate/consider the arguments of folks like the Beale, the longer the SFF community can’t really consider itself a safe space for women and people of color (and ostensibly QUILTBAG folks as well, taking into account that Tom Doherty defended John C. Wright, a well-documented bigot). And I know, not all SFF folks, but the fact that a very high profile, prominent member of the community gave Beale a platform speaks volumes.
It saddens me greatly that a community so focused on experiencing other worlds and looking toward the future can’t seem to get past the backwards beliefs of a loud, gross, minority.
ETA: The original post said that Doherty had defended Jim C. Hines, not John C. Wright. Jim C. Hines is a perfectly lovely human being who works for equality. He is not a human skidmark like John C. Wright. Apologies for any confusion.