Diversity Issue

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    This is going to take place in several parts. I hope you read the whole thing but I’ll put the most important part first so you don’t have to if you don’t want to:

    Part 1

    I’m sorry that some poorly chosen words and trigger phrases used in a few of my comments on Felicity Savage’s Selfies/Diversity post gave the impression that I and this website are anti-diversity, not cognizant of the issues and clueless when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion.

    I am completely in favor of inclusiveness. I’d like to see greater diversity and greater representation and participation by minorities in all aspects of the speculative fiction environment – among consumers, at events, among creators and at the businesses that serve our community.

    I have tried, with the limited means at my disposal, to support those objectives with this website and the activities it involves itself with both publicly and behind the scenes, and will continue to do so moving forward.

    My apologies to anyone who may have been offended by what I wrote as it was not my intention to do so. I welcome your support and suggestions in helping me accomplish those goals.

    Part 2

    This discussion and the charges leveled have made me sick to my stomach. I mention this not to play victim or to achieve some kind of parity with those who have been hurt by it, but to let you know how deeply this affects me.

    I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be on the right side of these issues. At a young age I personally experienced what it was like to be the subject of hate and bigotry and from that moment on made the conscious decision to never be involved in such and further, never to remain silent or inactive in the presence of such. I’ve not had the privilege of working against those issues in any grand, highly influential ways, but I have acted and spoken up when and where I have been able.

    To find myself cast on the other side is deeply disturbing and absolutely not where I want to be. I have been reading, consulting and discussing in an effort to more completely understand where and how I went wrong so that I can avoid doing the same in the future.

    Part 3

    I would like to try and explain myself further but I have come to believe that the issue is one that I – obviously – lack the skill to be able to properly articulate it. The fault is mine – not anyone else’s failure to understand.

    Rather than digging the hole deeper with additional (likely inappropriate) explanations, I’ll look for opportunities to discuss these things one-on-one or in person with anyone who so desires. The objective of any such discussion will not be to excuse myself or explain this away. It will be to find ways to assure you that I am in support of promoting diversity within our community.

    Part 4

    There are several other issues intertwined with this one, but I do not want to distract or confuse from the primary one and so I will reserve discussion of Ms. Savage’s article and those other surrounding issues for another time.

    Part 5

    My intention here has been to make my sincere apologies to anyone who may have been offended or hurt by my comments and explanations. I have also tried to explain that I am in support of promoting diversity and will continue to try and do so.

    If in your estimation those two goals have not (yet) been achieved by my words here, I would appreciate hearing from you.

    2 COMMENTS

    1. I thought your comments were entirely reasonable, Steve, as is this clarifying statement. I felt I got the spirit of what you were saying, so was surprised by the fallout. It’s true, though, it is a loaded issue and, no matter how carefully we choose our words, there is a danger of being misunderstood. I do wonder about issues like positive discrimination, though, which encourages fluffy language (“people of color” applies to all of us, surely, in that everyone has a color). There are pluses to choosing our words as well, of course, which goes hand in hand with diversity- in the UK, “people with disability”, “people with learning difficulties” have, quite properly replaced older, negative and inaccurate expressions. On the US comedy, channel, though, I still hear comedians capitalising on talking about “the gays” (note the use of “the”, which generalises and puts down), and “retards,” not to mention what they say about women. True diversity happens, or should, by recognising it’s part of the rich pattern of our lives and fiction is a mirror to life, isn’t it? An illustration: Neil Gaiman’s novel, Anansi Boys never tries to take on board any issues of diversity – but he never spells it out that his main character is black (sorry, a “person of color”). But your glean that from reading the book. While I would fight tooth and nail against racism, sexism and all the other isms – but I also believe in free speech. And diversity of characters, cultures and all that other good stuff is important in fiction and in every other area of life. I think we’re guilty of getting caught up in the way we say things, rather than what we actually mean which, in my view, can obscure the real issues. Bravo, Steve.

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